Farmers markets not only offer some of the freshest produce and vegetative products you can find, but they also create opportunities to buy locally, and support small farmers, ranchers, and agricultural businesses. As you explore farmers markets in your area, it is important to keep food safety top of mind. Germs that cause foodborne illness can grow rapidly in temperatures between 40 and 140°F. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), adhering to food safety guidelines may reduce the risk of foodborne illness. FSIS serves as the lead food safety agency within USDA and conducts broad range of food safety activities to ensure everyone’s food is safe.
Farmers Market Food Safety Tips (PDF, 1.1 MB)
- Wash produce thoroughly under running water, even if you plan to peel it before eating, cutting or cooking. Bacteria can be present on the outside of foods such a watermelon or mangoes, which can be transferred to the inside when you cut or peel them.
- Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to help eliminate bacteria.
- Refrigerate cut or peeled fruits and vegetables within two hours after you cut, peel or cook them (or 1 hour if the outside temperature is 90°F or warmer).
- Carefully examine your produce for large bruises, cuts, and insect holes as they can potentially store bacteria that hide and spread rapidly to the inner parts of the produce.
- When buying other perishable items, store them as soon as possible; they should not remain in hot weather (90°F or above) for more than one hour and should not be at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
To learn more about the USDA Farmers Market, visit the USDA Farmer’s Market webpage.
To learn more about food safety, visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) website.