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GUILTY of a SafeFood© Crime!

We all know the proper care and handling of fresh produce – wash fresh fruits and vegetables before eating. The SafeFood© Police are watching, right? As a SafeFood Advocate, I try to maintain a law abiding lifestyle. Usually, the rule of washing fresh produce is followed. But, like with any rule, there are exceptions I make for personal application, such as for items fresh from my garden.

Here is my confession.

Cherry tomatoes straight off the vine are soooooo good I am guilty of omitting the wash step with these. This wonderful taste first thing in the morning is my reward after exercising, Yes, sweaty hands and all, so make that a double crime! Extenuating circumstances exist: I am cautious in that blemished tomatoes are tossed for the birds. By blemish, I mean any tears in skin or evidence of bird droppings. The torn skin allows opportunity for bacteria to enter the item, and we all know that bird droppings is another name for bird poop – nothing I want to eat.

Strawberries are another item that do not always get a rinse before tasting. My harvest productivity ratio is about 50% (one for me, one for the basket).

I don’t recommend this procedure if serving at risk folks or if sharing the garden bounty with a group of people. Yet for a 50-something year-old, I calculate the risk/benefit of life more closely – and taste of fresh produce straight from the garden is definitely a benefit with appropriate caution. Enjoy the tastes of summer – particularly fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden. Choose wisely. Leave the blemished items behind. They are not worth the risk.

Submitted by Catherine Strohbehn, August 1, 2008