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CONSUMER WATCH: Summer Food Safety
Fears of listeria contamination at a California packing plant have triggered a nationwide recall of some popular summer fruits.
The recall includes peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots that were sold at major outlets including Costco, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Walmart.
The recall is a good reminder of some basic food safety practices when enjoying some of the best food summer has to offer.
Whether at the supermarket or the farmer's market, inspect produce to make sure it's not bruised or damaged. Pre-cut produce should be refrigerated or surrounded by ice. The Department of Agriculture recommends keeping produce, and really any other food item, away from raw meat, poultry, or seafood to prevent cross contamination. They should go in separate shopping bags on the way home.
Wash fruits and vegetables under running water, and scrub items like those summer cucumbers and fresh melons with a clean brush. Produce should be washed even if you don't plan to eat the skin. Drying with a clean paper towel can help further reduce bacteria.
And if eating outdoors or heading to the beach for the day, pack perishables directly from the fridge and freezer into a cooler, again, separating meat from cooked foods, and fruits and veggies.