8 Food Safety Precautions to Know Before Visiting the Farmers’ Market

Farmers markets are great for fresh produce, local flowers and a Saturday morning stroll—but are they sanitary? Here are a few things you should know about farmers market food safety.

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Sale of organic loaves at outdoor farmers marketAlison Hancock/Shutterstock

Pay Attention to Vendor Cleanliness

It's up to individual farmers market coalitions and the vendors themselves to practice proper food safety. Before you buy, observe how the vendor is managing their booth. Does the booth have an overall look of cleanliness and order? Is the food handler using gloves and changing them at appropriate times, like after handling money? Also, look for the use of other sanitary supplies like deli paper, tongs and bags for purchased goods. By the way, these are the benefits of shopping at a farmers' market vs. the grocery store.

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Goat and Sheep Cheese Display at the Farmer's Market; Shutterstock ID 1407689732; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH Farmers Market Food SafetyBruno Lassus/Shutterstock

Avoid Raw Milk and Soft Cheese

Drawn to a tasty-looking dairy booth? Be careful. Unless you can confirm it's been pasteurized, don't buy raw milk or soft cheese at the farmers' market. These products can carry dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria. (Do you have food poisoning or a stomach bug? Here's how to tell the difference.)

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Gray cardboard cartons of brown, green and white chicken eggs for sale at a farmer's market.Colloidial/Shutterstock

Eggs Should Be Chilled

There's a big difference in flavour when it comes to farm-fresh eggs versus store-bought. So don't be afraid to purchase eggs at the farmers market; just make sure the vendor has them properly chilled. According to the Government of Canada, "eggs should be refrigerated as soon as possible in the coldest section of the refrigerator." (Yes, you're right, eggs don't have to be refrigerated in Europe.)

That was 8 Food Safety Precautions to Know Before Visiting the Farmers’ Market

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