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National Restaurant Association - Protect guests by ensuring safe produce handling

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Protect guests by ensuring safe produce handling





Spring and summer offer a bounty of delicious produce options for restaurateurs and guests. Because fresh produce often is eaten uncooked, everyone who handles produce must be careful to prevent cross-contamination.

To help provide safe produce to guests, keep these tips in mind:


  • Order fresh produce frequently, and set up receiving guidelines. Check delivery truck and containers’ condition; look for damage, signs of pests and dirt or debris. When receiving fresh-cut produce, reject items that have passed their expiration dates or haven’t been received at the correct temperature.
  • Accept only produce in good condition. Look for signs of spoilage, such as unusual colors, unpleasant odors, mold or wilting. Reject any produce that shows signs of insect infestation.


  • Store raw, whole produce and raw, cut vegetables packed in ice as they are. Containers must be self-draining and ice should be changed regularly.
  • Don’t wash most produce before storing it. Moisture often promotes the growth of mold.
  • Store cut melons, cut tomatoes, and cut leafy greens at 41 F (5 C) or lower. These items need temperature control to keep them safe.
  • Avoid cross-contamination in storage. Store produce away from raw meat, poultry and seafood; otherwise, meat juice could drip on produce.





  • Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly under running water. The water should be slightly warmer than the temperature of the produce.
  • Make sure fruit and vegetables don’t come in contact with surfaces exposed to raw meat, poultry and seafood. Prepare fruit and vegetables away from these items.
  • Clean and sanitize utensils and equipment that will be used to prepare produce. This includes knives and cutting boards.

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