Farmers Want You To Be Safe:
Following proper food safety practices helps to protect both farmers and their customers alike – nobody wants to get sick! Food safety is a Farmer’s responsibility. The upfront costs of ensuring proper food safety procedures are followed is a part of doing business. They know that happy and healthy customers are returning customers. It is the responsibility of the customer to understand the risks of buying direct from farmers and be able to identify high-risk food items that may cause illness if not prepared properly.
Identify which produce is higher risk:
Farm fresh foods are great. They taste better, stay fresher longer and look great on social media. However, when you are buying fresh produce it is important to identify high-risk items that may require special attention when preparing them to be eaten. Produce eaten raw, produce that comes into direct contact with soil, and produce that is hard to wash such as salad mix, lettuce, berries, etc may be considered high-risk food since they are more likely to come into contact with foodborne illnesses and pathogenes. Don’t assume that because something has a peel, it is lower-risk.
Talk to your Farmer:
Farmers love to talk. Don’t be afraid to ask them about how they operate their farm and how they prepare their products for sale. Ask them about their equipment cleaning, irrigation testing and any possible animal contamination that you should be aware of.
Remember to ALWAYS wash your fresh produce!