Food Safety and Fresh Produce

MangoesFresh fruits and vegetables are a highlight of summertime. There are many different fruits and vegetables in-season during the summer months, and there’s many ways to incorporate them into your snacks and meals.

It is important to make certain that fruits and vegetables are handled with care in order to provide the greatest amount of nutrition and flavor.

Here are some tips to consider:


  • Do not distribute damaged or heavily bruised produce.
  • If the produce is not washed before distributing, instruct those who are receiving it to wash before consuming.
  • Do not chop fruits or vegetables on the same cutting board as raw meats. The same utensils used to cut meats should not be used to cut produce, unless the utensils have been cleaned and sanitized properly.

Storage knowledge is also vital when it comes to keeping your fruits and vegetables fresh for as long as possible:

  • Refrigerators used to store fresh fruits and vegetables should be clean and at a temperature of 40°F or below.
  • All produce that has been cut should be refrigerated.
  • Store fruits and vegetables away from each other to delay the ripening process. Some fruits produce ethylene gas which can cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen quicker and spoil faster.

You may find these items in Second Harvest’s warehouse during the summer months. View these storage guidelines and more here.

Produce Storage
Onions Room temperature until cut
Cucumbers Cool/room temperature until cut
Cabbage Store in refrigerator
Potatoes Cool/room temperature, dark places
Watermelon Cool/room temperature until cut
Squash (Zucchini) Store in refrigerator


Rachel Stankiewitch

Carson Newman University Food and Nutrition Intern


Food Safety and Fresh Produce
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