June 25, 2024

CDC Offers Tips on Fruit and Vegetable Safety Amid Cyclospora and Salmonella Outbreaks

There are two outbreaks right now in the U.S. that are linked to fresh produce. A cyclospora outbreak linked to Del Monte Vegetable Trays has sickened 212 people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan. And a Salmonella Adelaide outbreak linked to recalled fresh precut melons has sickened. So the CDC is offering advice on fruit and vegetable safety.

Fruit and Vegetable Safety

Fruits and vegetables are important to a good diet. They help protect y0u from illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. But these types of foods are more likely than others to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria. And many of these products are not heated before they are consumed, which means any contaminated food will make someone sick.

For fruit and vegetable safety, the safest produce has been cooked to a final temperature of 160°F to kill pathogenic bacteria. The next safest is washed.

Some foods are more problematic than others. Raw sprouts have been linked to many food poisoning outbreaks in the past few years. Eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts is a food poisoning hazard, especially for people who are most at risk for this type of illness: pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people with weakened immune systems. Anyone in those groups should not eat raw sprouts.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a cyclospora or Salmonella infection, you can contact Minnesota attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900.

You can protect yourself by taking some steps. When you shop, make sure to choose produce that isn’t damaged, broken, or bruised. Those flaws can let bacteria into the food that washing won’t remove. Keep all precut vegetables and fruits cold and only buy these types of products that have been kept refrigerated or on ice. And finally, make sure that you separate raw produce from raw poultry, meat, seafood, and eggs in your shopping cart.

Always wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them, cut them or cook them, unless the package states the product has been washed. Wash or scrub fruits and vegetables under running water, even if you are going to peel them. The action of peeling and cutting can transfer bacteria from the peel to the inside. Then dry the produce with a clean paper towel.

Cut produce should be treated as you treat cooked meats, poultry, and egg products: refrigerate them within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the ambient air temperature is above 90°F. Put them into a clean container and chill them at 40°F or less.

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