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Food Safety

By: Michelle Peltier
By: Michelle Peltier

Despite the recent spinach and lettuce recalls, consumers shouldn't be overly concerned about the safety of their vegetables. According to experts, the U.S. Food supply is still the safest in the world.

The fact is, food borne illnesses from vegetables have always been, and still are rare.

"Between 1990 and 2003 only about 12 percent of food borne illnesses were related to vegetables," said Amanda Scott, Texas Co-Operative Extension Nutrition Specialist.

There are ways that you can help cut your chances of catching any food born bugs. The first recommendation is wash your hands.

"It's estimated the cases of food born illnesses could be cut in half if people just washed their hands before handling food," said Jody Peach, St. Joseph Regional Health Center Nutritionist.

A good washing is 20 seconds under hot water with soap. According to the Texas Co-Op, you'll want to wash before and after touching raw meat, using the restroom, or handling pets.

Be sure to wash all vegetables and fruits before you eat them. Fancy bottled produce washes are not reccommended by the FDA. The government says plain old water will do the trick.

You can also cut your risk by carefully storing produce. When putting it in the refrigerator, be sure all meats are stored below the fruits and vegetables. This keeps meat juices from leaking onto your greens.

And when it's time to prepare dinner, Peach says everyone should keep separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. This is another way to keep from cross contaminating your foods.


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