Love to buy fresh food at your local farmers’ market?

Here are some food safety tips to help keep you and your family safe while supporting your local farmers and producers.

Produce : fresh produce can become contaminated in the field through contact with soil, contaminated water, wild or domestic animals, or improperly composted manure.

  • Before eating fruits and vegetables, wash them thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them.

Milk and cheeses : consuming raw or unpasteurized milk and cheese products comes with an increased risk of foodborne illness, as the products have not been processed to eliminate harmful bacteria.

  • Ask the vendor, or read the label, to find out if the milk or cheese has been pasteurized.

Eggs : eggs sold at farmers’ markets and farm stalls are not subject to the same food safety standards as graded eggs sold in grocery stores.

  • Inspect eggs to make sure they aren’t cracked. Dangerous bacteria can enter a cracked egg.

Meat and poultry : raw meat and poultry may contain harmful bacteria, so it is important to keep it separate from other items to avoid cross-contamination.

  • Store raw meat in the refrigerator immediately after you return home.

Bags and Bins : your reusable baskets, bins and bags can also spread foodborne illnesses, so it’s important to wash and care for them properly.

  • Machine-wash your cloth bags frequently. Plastic baskets, plastic bins and reusable grocery bags that aren’t machine-washable should be washed using hot soapy water or sanitized with a mild bleach solution on a regular basis.

For more tips, see the Health Canada Information Update.

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