How to Handle Ready-to-Eat Bagged Produce |

by Dr. Michelle Annette Smith, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Food Safety, Produce Safety Staff, FDA

Pre-cut, bagged, pre-washed produce has increased in popularity over the last few years. The convenience of ready-to-eat bagged produce has allowed consumers with hectic lifestyles to add healthy leafy greens, fruits, and other vegetables to their diet easily.  Recent recalls of ready-to-eat bagged produce have raised questions on how to handle it safely at home.

Tips for handling ready-to-eat produce safely

Bagged ProduceWhile we recommend that you wash intact produce, such as apples, head lettuce, and whole carrots before preparation and consumption, many pre-cut, bagged, or packaged produce items like mixed salad greens are pre-washed and ready-to-eat.  It is unlikely that consumer washing of such products will make the product cleaner compared to a commercial triple wash. It is possible that the additional handling may contaminate a product that was clean.  If you’re not sure if your packaged produce is ready-to-eat, look at the label.  If the package indicates that the contents have been pre-washed and are ready-to-eat, you can use the product without further washing.

If you choose to wash a product marked “pre-washed” and “ready-to-eat,” be sure to use safe-handling practices to avoid any cross contamination.

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after handling the product.
  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, salad spinners, utensils, and countertops with hot water between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, and seafood products and preparation of produce that will not be cooked.

Additional Produce Tips

  • Choose only ready-to-eat produce that is refrigerated or surrounded by ice before buying
  • Refrigerate all pre-cut, ready-to-eat produce promptly
  • Make sure that produce, including ready-to-eat produce, is not bruised or damaged
  • Separate ready-to-eat produce from raw meat, poultry, and seafood in your refrigerator
  • Never use detergent or bleach to wash produce.  These products are not intended for consumption.
  • Throw away ready-to-eat produce that has touched raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Return any uneaten ready-to-eat produce to the refrigerator or discard

Produce Safety: Safe Handling of Raw Produce and Fresh-Squeezed Fruit and Vegetable Juices

Safe Handling of Raw Produce and Fresh-Squeezed Fruit and Vegetable Juices

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About Vicky Colas

A UNIQUE TASTE PERSONAL CHEF & DINNER PARTY SERVICES Tropical Cuisine – “A Melting Pot of the World's Flavors" The Chef Chef Vicky Colas is a Graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami: A.S Degree- Culinary Arts (Cum Laude) Florida International University: B.S -Hospitality Restaurant Management (Minor- in Hotel and Lodging) Who we are A Unique Taste Personal Chef & Dinner Party Services is a traveling chef service. Areas serviced include all Broward County, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade County. Chef Services Offered - Personal Chef Services: For your everyday nutritious meals. - Buffet Style, Stations & Plated Sit-Down Service - Special Occasion Dinner Parties - Romantic Dinner for Two - Boxed Lunch Service - Customized Tasting available upon request ($30 pp for choice of two items) Note from the Chef: Thank you for considering A unique Taste Personal Chef and Dinner Party Services for your special occasion. I am dedicated to providing you with the finest cuisine and superb service. Whether you’re interested in a romantic dinner for two or a special event, you can count on A Unique Taste Personal Chef and Dinner Party Services to make sure every detail is perfect. Chef Vicky

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