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Publication #FCS8742

Pome and Stone Fruits: Safe Handling Practices for Consumers1

Amy Simonne2

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy diet. However, care must be taken to avoid any contamination during the preparation process, as some foodborne illness have been traced to fresh produce. Pome and stone fruits come from fruit trees grown in temperate zones. Pome and stone fruits includes pears, apples, apricots, sweet cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums. Here are steps you can take to reduce your risk of foodborne illness from these fruits.

Where You Shop

Buy only undamaged pome and stone fruits that are free of bruises.

Fresh-cut fruit should be refrigerated or surrounded by ice.

At Home

Refrigerate ripe pome and stone fruits promptly. For optimum flavor, some stone fruits such as peaches can be left at room temperature to be ripen before storing in the refrigerator.

Refrigerate fresh cut fruit within two hours of peeling or cutting.

Discard leftover cut fruit after two hours at room temperature.

During Preparation

Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after:

  • handling fresh produce

  • handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood

  • using the bathroom

  • changing diapers

  • handling pets

Wash pome and stone fruits with cool tap water just before preparing or eating. Don't use soap or detergents.

Scrub firm fruit with a clean produce brush.

Rinse with cool tap water.

Peel the fruit if possible to reduce surface contamination.

Remove core from apples and pears and rinse well before cutting. This will reduce potential contamination of microbes from inner core materials.

Cut away bruised or damaged areas before preparing or eating.

Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops often. Use hot, soapy water and rinse well. Sanitize them after contact with fresh produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood (see below).

Sanitize kitchen sink frequently to prevent a build up of microbes.

Do not cross contaminate! Use clean cutting boards and utensils for fresh fruit.

If you can, use a separate cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

Do not consume ice that has come in contact with fresh produce or other raw products.

Use a cooler with ice or ice gel packs when you take perishable foods outdoors. This include cut fresh fruits and vegetables.

To sanitize cutting boards, dishes, and utensils

Table 1. 

Mix one teaspoon chlorine bleach in one quart water.

Pour the mixture onto all surfaces or submerge appropriate items into the above solution and let sit at least one minute.

Rinse surfaces well with hot running water.

Dishwasher with hot water cycle (at least 180°F or 82°C) for a final rinse is also effective.

Following these steps will help reduce your risk of foodborne illness from fresh produce.

For More Information

You can visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website at: or call FDA Consumer Inquiries at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (a toll-free number).



This document is FCS8742, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 2002. Reviewed July 2015. Visit the EDIS website at


Amy Simonne, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.