Are Those Food Samples Really Good For You?

When you stop by your neighborhood farmers market or grocery store and pick up a sample of fruit from a serving tray, have you ever wondered if that's the healthiest choice you could make for you and your family?

Health officials in the metro Washington D.C. area don't think so, according to a recent Washington Post piece about neighboring cities cracking down on numerous food safety regulations at farmers markets ranging from:

  • When and where food is cut
  • How it is refrigerated
  • How knives are cleaned after samples are prepared

As a result, a growing number of farmers serving markets in the metro D.C. area for fear they will be closed for health violations although statistics have shown nibbling on fresh produce can spur sales by as much as 35 percent.

One farmer noted some have been in the market business for so long, they thought nothing about cutting tomatoes with a knife, then wiping that same knife on their overalls.

If you like sharing germs with others, please be careful, particularly when you're sick. But if you're wondering when that knife at the pickle stand was last cleaned, you may want to think twice about taking a sample.

Washington Post August 15, 2004

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