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Consumers advised to wash cantaloupe

5/24/2000-Sacramento State Health Director Diana M. Bont, R.N., Dr. P.H., advised consumers Tuesday to always thoroughly wash the outer skin of a cantaloupe before consuming the fruit. This advisory following a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella poisoning that has sickened at least 39 individuals in California, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, and Washington. Consumption of tainted cantaloupe has been linked to at least 19 reported illnesses from an uncommon type of Salmonella, known as Salmonella Poona. While most of the individuals ate melons that were purchased whole and cut at home, some ate pre-cut cantaloupes purchased from supermarkets or were served cantaloupes in restaurants. "Cantaloupe meat can become contaminated when it is sliced through contaminated rind without prior scrubbing with soap and hot, running water," Bont said. "Consumers should handle cantaloupe as they would handle raw meat: they should wash their hands before and after handling the fruit and refrigerate unused cut portions immediately. In fact, all fruits and vegetables that are not peeled should be washed."The location where the cantaloupes were grown, and the source of the contamination, are under investigation.






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