With the most recent recall of grape tomatoes, you may be wondering how to stay safe from food-borne illnesses like salmonella. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), there are a number of things that you can do to keep the food in your fridge safe. Below are some top storage and preparation tips to maintain top food safety!

Top Food Safety Tips
1. Store your foods properly. Store all of your perishable fresh fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, lettuce, herbs and mushrooms in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° F or below. Do not leave them out on the counter. Also, be sure to refrigerate all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled. The sooner you can get it in the fridge, the better!

2. Start with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing any fresh produce — or any meal for that matter!

3. Prep your produce. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables. If something looks rotten, toss it. Also be sure to thoroughly wash your fruits and veggies under running water (no soap or detergent) just before eating, cutting or cooking. Even if you're going to peel it before eating it, you should wash it first.

4. Pre-washed items are OK. Many precut, bagged produce items like lettuce are pre-washed, according to the HHS. If the package says that the contents have been pre-washed, you can use the produce without washing it again.

5. Dry after washing. Using a clean cloth towel or a paper towel to dry produce after its cleaned may further reduce bacteria like salmonella on your foods. So wash and dry!

And, of course, stay up to date with the latest food recalls and throw out any suspicious foods!

Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.

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