Farmers Market Food Safety

As part of our #ESMMatFM series this summer, we’ve shared storage recommendations for fresh fruits and veggies, recipe suggestions for summer produce, cooking ideas for local foods, and tips for your first visit to a farmers market. Today, it’s all about keeping your farmers market purchases safe, from farm to table.

At the Market

  • Watch how the vendors handle their products. Food should look clean and perishable items (particularly meat and eggs) should be kept chilled in coolers with ice.
  • Use clean reusable bags. Wash your reusable bags after every use to keep them free of germs and prevent contaminating your purchases. If you reuse plastic grocery bags from the store, only use ones that have carried low-risk items. Don’t reuse ones that have come into contact with raw meat, seafood, poultry, or eggs.
  • Go straight home. Cold food should not be left at “room temperature” for more than 2 hours, TOTAL. This amount goes down to 1 hour when the temperature is over 90°F. This includes the time between when the farmer takes it from the fridge/freezer before packing into the cooler, the time it spends in your bag while continuing to shop, the time it takes to get home and put it away, and the time it sits on the counter while you’re making dinner. If you’re running several errands, make the trip to the market the last stop before heading home.

farmers market shoppers

At Home

  • Wash away the germs. Always rinse fresh fruits and veggies under cold running water, even the ones you peel. Remember the cantaloupe Salmonella outbreak a few years ago? Germs on the outside get a free ride into the edible part when you cut it up.
  • Follow the basics of food safety– Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill.

All food should be handled properly, even if it comes from a farmers market. Follow these tips to keep your food and family safe. Do you have any food safety concerns when shopping at a farmers market?

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