Since fruits and vegetables are grown close to the ground, they can become contaminated in the field by soil, contaminated water, wild and domestic animals, or improperly composted manure. Harmful organisms can also get onto the produce during and after harvest, from handling, storing, and transporting.
Fresh produce can also become contaminated with disease-causing bacteria when they come into contact with raw food items such as meat, poultry, seafood and their juices. Such contaminations can happen at the grocery store, in the shopping cart, in the refrigerator or from counters and cutting boards.
Refrigerate fresh fruits and vegetables at 4°C (40°F) or below within two hours of peeling or cutting. Leftover cut fruits and vegetables should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than two hours.
(1) Safe Handling of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. Porcupine Health Unit. 2016 Apr 26. [cited 2016 Apr 28].
(2) Food Safety: A Guide for Ontario’s Foodhandlers. MOHLTC. 2013 Feb; pg. 64.