Contaminated Cantaloupes Came From Here

cantaloupeWell, Listeria is never good news, but today's development kind of makes the bad news you might have read here earlier this week a little bit less scary. Yes, cantaloupe is still being held responsible for an outbreak of Listeria in Colorado and New Mexico that's killed four people so far, but the CDC has narrowed down the source of the tainted melons (or the most likely source, anyway): The Rocky Ford region of Colorado.

So even though cantaloupe is still going to seem more ominous than the average piece of produce for awhile, at least we know which ones to avoid. (Though it's a shame that out of all the cantaloupe in all the world, the Rocky Ford variety is to blame. Melons from that area are famed for being the sweetest you can get.)

But to tell you the truth, this isn't the first time I've been too afraid to eat cantaloupe ...

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When my now 10-year-old daughter was a toddler -- and a very picky eater -- she went through a huge cantaloupe phase. Because I was lazy busy, I often opted, when grocery shopping, for the pre-sliced chunks of melon. Hey, when you're chasing after a little tiny kid all day, sometimes an extra five minutes cutting and de-seeding fruit just seems impossible.

Until the day my daughter got salmonella. From cantaloupe chunks. Yup.

That's when I learned what everybody's been buzzing about, how the rind of the cantaloupe is especially prone to trapping bacteria and how germ-y wildlife love to get all up in the sweet-smelling melons' business when they're still on the vine.

Thankfully, my daughter's case of salmonella was mild. But I still avoided cantaloupe for about a year, and when we did start eating it again, I always bought whole melons and washed the hell out of them before I cut them. Like, scrubbed them with a brush. (This is still the safest way to do it!!)

So, take it from me and the CDC: Make sure your cantaloupe aren't the Rocky Ford kind, and scrub them with hot water (and dry them!) before slicing!

Will you continue to eat cantaloupe?

 

Image via Clay Irving/Flickr

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