Action 4 Investigates: Fruit Stand Safety

Jorge Macias Pinedo says his watermelons are 100 percent from the Rio Grande Valley.

Before setting up his fruit stand at a Harlingen street corner, Pinedo says he picks up his produce from local farms.

Pinedo says one advantage to buying his fruit is supporting the local economy while another is that it may be cheaper.

Action 4 News compared a watermelon from Pinedo TMs stand to a store bought melon.

It was nearly $2 cheaper.

Carmen Llerandi is a dietician and assistant director of patient and care services at Valley Baptist Medical Center.

She says while fruit from the street can be cheaper, fresher and better tasting, it could also be unsafe.

"When you get it on the side of the road, said Llerandi, You have no idea where the produce has been since it was harvested, where it's been stored, were there pesticides, what types of chemicals it had.

Llerandi says produce found at the supermarket comes in regulated boxes and is handled by people with health certifications.

"Versus on the side of the road, said Llerandi, You have no idea what type of health those folks have, whether or not they have a contagious disease."

According to Llerandi, picking your produce has pros and cons, but whether from the street or store, the choice to eat fruits and veggies is a positive one.

To read more about this topic, Llerandi provided the following research links: