Summer travel tip: Poorly-handled farmer's market food can make you sick

Now the summer road-tripping season has arrived, remember to be careful when shopping at farmer's markets.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is investigating more than 10 illnesses possibly related to freshly prepared fruit and vegetable products -- such as hummus, salsa and fruit salad -- sold at a farmer's market in east-central Iowa.

Although farmer's markets are an excellent source of fresh fruits and vegetables, the IDPH cautions consumers that any freshly prepared fruit and vegetable product not properly refrigerated may pose a potential health risk from bacteria.

Because of warmer summer temperatures, the IDPH warns Iowans and other consumers to be especially aware of food safety at farmer's markets:

  • Be aware that any freshly-prepared fruit or vegetable product, such as hummus, salsa, cut fruit salad, and guacamole can be a potential health risk if not handled correctly.
  • All these products must be kept refrigerated, both before and after the sale.


When shopping at a farmer's market, remember:

  • Only buy products from vendors who keep freshly prepared fruit and vegetable products cold, either in refrigeration units or on ice.
  • Once purchased, keep freshly prepared fruit and vegetable products cold. If you plan to spend a lot of time at the market, bring a cooler or ice pack for storage.
  • When you arrive home, refrigerate your purchases immediately and eat within days.
  • Any freshly prepared fruit or vegetable product not properly refrigerated should not be eaten, and should be discarded.
For more information on food safety, visit the IDPH Web site.

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