Fruits and vegetables are healthy to eat. But did you know that harmful germs, like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, can sometimes be on fruits and vegetables? There are steps that can help keep you healthy—and your fruits and vegetables safer to eat—from the store to your table.
Eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables provides important health benefits when you select and prepare them safely.
Fruits and veggies add nutrients to your diet that help protect you from heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. And choosing produce including vegetables, fruits, and nuts—instead of high-calorie foods also helps you manage your weight.
But sometimes raw fruits and vegetables may contain harmful germs, such as Salmonella(https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/index.html), E. coli(https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/index.html), and Listeria(https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html), which can make you and your family sick with food poisoning. In the United States, nearly half(https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/attribution/attribution-1998-2008.html) of foodborne illnesses are caused by germs on contaminated fresh produce.
Safer choices for fresh produce are washed fresh vegetables, including salads, and cooked vegetables. Unwashed fresh vegetables, including lettuce and salads, are more likely to make people sick with a foodborne illness.