How Can Consumers Reduce the Risk of Foodborne Illness From Cantaloupes?

Cantaloupe has been linked to two multi-state outbreaks of foodborne illness this year one caused by Salmonella, this other by Listeria. Together the outbreaks have killed at least one person and caused dozens of others to become seriously ill. While the cantaloupe Listeria outbreak is ongoing, public health officials recommend that consumers avoid eating that variety of melon. In the future, there are some things consumers can do to reduce their risk of contracting a foodborne illness from cantaloupe. The following recommendations are from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Purchase cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged. If buying fresh-cut cantaloupe, be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice. After purchase, refrigerate cantaloupes promptly. Wash hands with hot, soapy water before and after handling fresh cantaloupes. Scrub whole cantaloupes by using a clean produce brush and cool tap water immediately before eating. Don't use soap or detergents. Use clean cutting surfaces and utensils when cutting cantaloupes. Wash cutting boards, countertops, dishes, and utensils with hot water and soap between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, or seafood, and the preparation of cantaloupe. If there happens to be a bruised or damaged area on a cantaloupe, cut away those parts before eating it. Leftover cut cantaloupe should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than two hours. Use a cooler with ice or use ice gel-packs when transporting or storing cantaloupes outdoors.

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