Home Gardener

Most of the fruits and vegetables consumed
in the United States are wholesome and free
of pathogens (microbes that cause food borne
illness). Many fruits and vegetables have natural
barriers, such as skins and rinds, that protect the
internal edible parts from contamination with
pathogens.

However, contamination of fruits and
vegetables can occur any time from planting
through food preparation. Most pathogens can
be killed by cooking, but they are difficult to
remove by washing from fruits and vegetables
that are eaten raw. Preventing introduction of
pathogens is the most effective way to maximize
the safety of fruits and vegetables grown in the
home garden.

Most individuals can recover from food borne
illness without complications. Others such as
children, older adults, and those whose immune
system are compromised are at greater risk and
can suffer serious complications and even death.

The best approach to maintaining the
wholesome nature of your home garden’s
harvest is to be aware of potential risks and
establish commonsense practices that will
minimize the chance of contamination.

Courtesy of UC Davis