Safety Tips for Handling Fresh Strawberries
Like any other fresh fruit or vegetable, strawberries can be contaminated with bacteria from soil, water, and animal sources. Contamination from human sources may occur during or after harvest, right up to the point of eating. Contaminated produce has been known to cause foodborne illness. Food poisoning outbreaks with other types of produce have occurred when poorly washed utensils or cutting boards (especially those used to handle raw meats) were used to prepare fresh fruits or vegetables. For this reason, it is important that you wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing produce, and use clean equipment, utensils, and cutting surfaces.
Strawberries should be washed just before eating or preserving. To wash, rinse strawberries thoroughly under cool running water, drain in a clean strainer, and pat dry with a clean paper towel. For maximum cleaning, gently rub each berry under the running water.
Washing strawberries in a sink filled with water is not recommended since the standing water can spread contamination from one berry to another. The use of soap or detergent is not recommended or approved for washing fruits and vegetables because the produce can absorb detergent residues.
Sort fruit and discard unripe, overripe, or defective fruit. Remove and discard the green cap (leafy part) before slicing berries. Wash hands, knives, and surfaces before and after preparation of berries. To maintain quality, cut or sliced strawberries should be covered and refrigerated if they are not eaten within 2 hours of preparation.