By the time leafy green vegetables reach your kitchen, California farmers and handlers have taken many actions to assure their safety including regular government inspections. Even with a rigorous food safety program in place, it is important for consumers to take steps to maintain safety all the way to the table. Practicing safe-handling methods in the kitchen can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and keep your family healthy.

Consumer handling Tips

  • Make sure that the leafy greens you buy are fresh and not damaged.
  • Do not buy packaged salads and leafy greens that are not refrigerated at the store.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh leafy greens.
  • Clean all surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap that will be and have been in contact with fresh leafygreens before and after food preparation.
  • Never use detergent or bleach to wash leafy greens.
  • Rinse leafy greens under cool running tap water. Packaged leafy greens labelled "ready-to-eat", "washed" or "triple washed" need not be washed.
  • Remove and throw away damaged portions of leafy greens when preparing to cook them or before eating them raw.
  • Cook or throw away leafy greens that have touched raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.
  • Check that packaged leafy greens like salads are refrigerated at the store before buying.
  • Refrigerate all cut or cooked leafy greens within two hours.
  • Throw away leafy greens that have not been refrigerated within two hours of cutting, peeling or cooking.
  • Separate leafy greens from household chemicals and raw foods such as meat, poultry and seafood in your shopping cart and in bags at checkout.
  • Keep leafy greens separate from raw meat, poultry or seafood in your refrigerator.
  • Don’t use the same cutting board used to cut raw meat, poultry or seafood without cleaning with hot water and soap before and after preparing leafy greens.
  • When in doubt, throw away leafy greens that have been sitting in your fridge for a long time or have been in contact with raw meat, poultry or seafood.

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