Document Type


Date of Original Version



Nutrition and Food Sciences


The number of foodborne illness outbreaks increased in the US from 2001 to 2010, and 17% of them were associated with produce. Higher risk, whole produce sold at farmers' markets presents unique challenges to food safety practices in regard to temperature controls, potable water, and exposure to contaminants. The purpose of this study is to use direct observations to identify unsafe food handling practices among vendors selling higher risk produce at Rhode Island farmers' markets. This study used, as a tool for data acquisition, a Smartphone application developed to allow concealed direct observations of actual vendors' practices at farmers' markets. Observations were made at fourteen (7 state and 7 private) farmers' markets to collect data on food handling practices of 26 vendors selling higher-risk produce. The results of this study will be used as guidance for education programs targeting farmers' market managers and vendors that promote best practices in regard to whole produce.