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Safe handling practices for your fresh fruits and vegetables

Clinical Nutritionist says now is not the time to eliminate fresh produce altogether out of fear of potential contamination.

SAN DIEGO — After a trip to the grocery store, a lot of people are wiping down their bags and packaging, but what about your fresh produce?

When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, Tara Coleman, a clinical nutritionist in San Diego, suggests running them under cold water upon returning home, before placing them in your refrigerator.

"I would wash it without a doubt," Coleman said. She suggested massaging fruit, vegetables and leafy greens under cold running water with your hands or a food scrub brush.

"The breakdown of really any virus or any bacteria is done by physically rubbing the produce. So you can almost act like there's dirt on it, and you're trying to massage that dirt off of it," Coleman said.

She recommended eating cooked vegetables over salads for people who are immunocompromised or are considered at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus, but she said now is not the time to eliminate fresh produce altogether out of fear of potential contamination.

"I have heard a fair amount of people say, 'You know what? I'm just going to cut out fruits and vegetables, just to be safe," Coleman said. "You want to get as many nutrients into you as possible. When it comes down to keeping your immune system strong... fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of that."

Coleman said many farmers markets are still open and Community Supported Agriculture is stepping up to provide contactless deliveries of fresh produce. 

She recommended the website www.localharvest.org as a good resource to find local options.

Click here to watch more of Coleman's interview with News 8's Marcella Lee.