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Study Shows Nearly 1 out of 4 Farmers Markets With E.Coli

There’s been a long-standing push in cuisine to emphasize locally-grown meats, produce, and herbs within the kitchen.  This movement has led to the increased popularity of farmer’s markets throughout the country. However, even with food that is grown and distributed locally, there are still dangers associated with food and herbs.

A study was done on food and herbs sold at farmers markets in Los Angeles in Washington.  Of the 133 samples tested from 13 farmers’ markets, 24.1% tested positive for E. coli and one tested positive for Salmonella.

“While farmers’ markets can become certified to ensure that each farmer is actually growing the commodities being sold, food safety is not addressed as part of the certification process,” said Rosalee Hellberg, Ph.D., and co-author on the study.

While this type of news is disconcerting, it can still serve as a clarion call for local restaurant owners to know a little more about their vendors and exercise good food safety practices.

Safe practices during food preparation minimizes the exposure to bacteria which may be present in the food.

  • Clean everything, including your hands, the surfaces that you’re cooking on, and especially the food itself.  There might be something lingering from transportation.
  • Make sure to keep your preparation areas for meat and vegetable separate from one another.  By making sure you have a cutting board for each, you’re preventing cross contamination.
  • Make sure that you cook your food as soon as possible using superior and working restaurant equipment, minimizing the chances of contamination.

The study on food and herbs from farmer’s markets was first printed in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

For more information about food safety techniques, go to foodsafety.gov.

Special thanks go to Brock Roseberry on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of the picture.



2014-12-24 00:00:00
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