Fruits & vegetables: March 2008 Archives

cantaloupe.jpgThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an import alert regarding entry of cantaloupe from Agropecuaria Montelibano, a Honduran grower and packer, because, based on current information, fruit from this company appears to be associated with a Salmonella Litchfield outbreak in the United States and Canada. In all, there have been 50 cases of illness associated with cantaloupes.[MORE]

While there have been no reported cases of Salmonellosis from these Cantaloupes in Pennsylvania, the guidelines listed below should be followed when preparing cantaloupes. 

The FDA recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella or other foodborne illnesses from cantaloupes:

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.

Added March 27, 2008
Salmonella and Cantaloupe: What Can Consumers Really Do?
Recommendations from UC-Davis for handling and washing cantaloupes

The Perishable Pundit has some criticisms of how FDA handled the situation here

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