As health-conscious consumers try to improve their diet by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, demand is exceeding the ability of local suppliers to provide local products. This daily demand for fresh produce in turn places a strain on a global supply chain that currently lacks consistent practices for sanitation. Add to that problem, the issues of stronger bacterial strains appearing around the world and you understand the major issues with fresh food delivery.
While food processors have always maintained major employee training programs to address the in-plant issues of hygiene and sanitation, consumers need to be more aware of how to handle fresh products. Today we live in a far more casual world. Our behavior and attitudes reflect a lack of understanding of how our hygiene impacts what we eat and how we eat it.
Beware that the fresh produce you are handling in the store is a raw material, and it has already been handled by someone else. If it has not been grown locally (it probably hasn’t), it may have traveled a long way to get to your store and it has passed through several transfer stations.
The consumer has a responsibility for the final processing of this type of food, just as food processors do. They need to carefully wash and clean these products before eating them. Fresh is good; however, in today’s world, fresh does not mean ready to eat.