The recent deadly Listeria outbreak involving cantaloupes is a wake call by many a restaurant safety expert to suggest revisiting buying, handling and oversight practices concerning fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce in particular served at restaurants and food service operations is a common source for many types of food borne illnesses from bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli as well as Listeria. – While owners and operators of food and beverage service businesses often practice safe food handling, it is what arrives from vendors and suppliers that deserve a second look. For example, it was reported that the listeria outbreak, which was the deadliest in 20 years were from cantaloupes off a farm in Colorado. While a majority of the outbreak was in that area, 24 other states in the story reported similar illnesses say this restaurant safety expert. – Fruits and vegetables have just as many germs that cause food borne illnesses as meats, which are usually the primary focus of prevention. In fact, the stomach flu you had may have been from a fresh fruit salad instead of that chicken dish you considered ordering instead. – The FDA’s experts on restaurant management food safety recommend these guidelines and practices to minimize hazards involving fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also other hospitality restaurant management resources available at our monthly newsletters. Has your restaurant or food service business experienced any type of a food borne illness or outbreak involving fresh produce in the last year? What did staff or a restaurant safety expert do to a) identify the source, and b) take corrective action once the problem was reported? Please share your recommendations with our readers.