Knowledge About Eating Fruit Safely to Avoid Foodborne Diseases


       Eating adequate amounts of fruit every day is an important part of a healthy diet as it provides our body with various nutrients and substances for disease prevention. Nowadays, the fruit available on the market in Macao is mainly imported. With the advancement of the transportation and logistics industries, we can purchase fruit imported from China and even around the world on the local retail market without distance constraint. The food suppliers use appropriate packaging and transport [1] during the process from farm to retail along the food supply chain in order to preserve the freshness and quality of fruit and reduce the damage and waste.


Be a smart shopper for fruit

  Consumers should patronise reputable stores while buying fruit. If the purchased fruit is ripe, enjoy it fresh as soon as possible. Some food suppliers or retailers pack some types of fruit before selling, the bottom part of which is placed in a container and covered with plastic wrap (see a photo). It is difficult for consumers to check whether the bottom side of fruit is in a good edible condition. In this respect, the food trader has the responsibility to ensure that the quality of pre-packaged fruit has not spoiled yet and fit for human consumption. In addition, consumers can consider buying unpackaged fruit, which allows for us to check its sensory characteristics, including the smell, colour, weight, softness and hardness, etc.


Be careful of pre-cut fruit

  It is convenient and popular for urban dwellers to buy pre-cut fruit and fruit-based beverage as ready-to-eat foodstuffs in hot weather. However, the production of pre-cut fruit and fruit-based beverage involves multiple steps of manual handling. If contaminated fruit is used in processing, it will make the pre-cut fruit and fruit-based beverage at a risk of pathogen contamination. For examples, both products are handed and stored at inappropriate temperature; or, the food handlers are unaware of food safety and hygiene practices. In this regard, the food trader should refer to the “Hygiene Guidelines on Handling Pre-cut Fruit” compiled by the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) in order to get familiar with the food safety and hygiene practices during the preparation, sale and supply of pre-cut fruit. The trader should ensure that pre-cut fruit is wrapped with suitable and clean packaging materials or kept in sealable containers. Any container for takeaway is clean and stored above the ground to prevent food contamination. Moreover, people in high-risk group, such as infants, pregnant women, the elderly and persons whose immune system are compromised, should avoid eating pre-cut fruit. The public should also avoid eating fruit that is not cut on spot or not sure how long it has been cut up.


Learn “Five Keys to Food Safety” to prevent food poisoning

Fruit is a kind of ready-to-eat food so food trade and the public need to pay attention for preventing foodborne diseases through practising the “Five Keys to Food Safety (ABCDE)” in every day.


AAvoid Cross Contamination

  • During shopping, fresh fruit should be kept separately from raw and fresh meat and seafood;
  • If it is necessary to handle ready-to-eat fruit and other raw food at the same time, at least two different sets of utensils must be used and prepared them separately;
  • After the fruit is cut for serving or eating later, the pre-cut fruit must be kept properly in a sealable container and stored separately from raw and fresh meat and seafood in a refrigerator so as to prevent cross-contamination.

BBuy Right

  • The trader and public should buy fruit from reputable suppliers/shops;
  • Always check the sensory properties of fruit before purchase, including the smell, colour, weight, softness and hardness, etc. Never serve, buy or eat any fruit with visible defects, objectionable smell, signs of spoilage or mouldy;
  • Buy and check pre-cut fruit whether it is properly packaged and kept in a refrigerator (below 5°C).

CClean and Cook Completely

  • Maintain a good personal hygiene and keep the fruit- preparing tools and surroundings in clean and hygiene;
  • Fruit should be thoroughly washed with running water to remove the dust, parasites and pesticide residues on its surface before consumption. Even if the peel of some fruit is inedible, thorough washing it helps to prevent bacteria or dirt entering inside the fruit while slicing or peeling.

DDanger Temperature Zone

  • Keep fruit in a cool and well-ventilated place. For perishable fruit and packaged pre-cut fruit, if it is not eaten immediately after purchase, it should be stored in the chilled compartment of refrigerator (below 5°C);
  • When preparing pre-cut fruit and fruit-based beverage, food trader should pay attention to its storage temperature and time, and avoid over production and placing the ready-to-eat fruit in the danger temperature zone (between 5°C and 60°C).

EEfforts to Maintain Macao Food Safety

  • O Food trader has the obligation to keep incoming and outgoing records of foodstuffs, such as invoices and receipts, so that the competent authorities can trace and track the source and distribution of food commodities when necessary and protect business interests;
  • Food safety is everybody's responsibility. It requires the concerted efforts among the government, food industry and public to safeguard food safety so that the public can enjoy fruit with peace of mind.




[1] Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme: Recommended International Code of Practice for Packaging and Transport of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables (CAC/RCP 44-1995)