ServSafe MN Basics for the Twelve Dirtiest Foods

Recently, a food safety watchdog group published its list of 12 produce items that test most frequently for traces of pesticides, and there are a number of surprising foods on this list. This week, we’ll take a look at the list and provide and a ServSafe MN basics review for proper produce handling.

ServSafe Basics for 12 Dirtiest Foods
Image credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Dirty Dozen and ServSafe MN Basics

As you can imagine, several foods grown in the dirt make an appearance on this list. Kale, potatoes, strawberries, spinach and celery make this notorious list. These foods grow close to or in the ground, and therefore close to bugs, snails and slugs, so many farmers treat their fields with some form of pesticide to protect their crop.

Tree fruits also figure prominently on this list. Apples, pears, peaches nectarines and cherries often test positive for pesticides, and vine and bush products such as tomatoes and grapes round out the list.

It’s important to note that there are no recalls or major warnings from the USDA concerning any of these fruits and vegetables. In fact, levels of pesticides found have not been labeled as dangerous or evaluated by any official agency, so let’s not panic and stop serving these items. It is, however, important information that serves as a reminder to review our ServSafe MN basics when it comes to handling raw produce.

Always inspect produce upon delivery. If you notice and odd smells, discoloration any type of sheen which looks chemical in nature, you may wish to consider rejecting shipment or asking for an exchange. Inspection on delivery is the first line of defense against serving contaminated food.

Make sure you wash all produce before serving, preparing or cooking. Pesticides can spread to other foods, leave residual traces on cutting boards and be consumed by guests, so washing produce is key.

Do you take extra precautions with certain ingredients, or do you carefully wash and inspect all produce regardless of type?

For over 20 years Safe Food Training has been known as the # 1 provider of food manager certification in Minnesota. We offer both instructor lead and on-line food safety certification courses. Our instructor lead courses are regularly scheduled at several central Minnesota locations. If you have special training requirements, we can even customize ServSafe training for your group. Which ever option is best for you, we would be happy to serve your needs.

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