Phyllis Entis, perhaps better known as the foodbuglady and for her excellent coverage of food safety issues on the eFoodAlert blog, recently invited her readers to weigh in on Del Monte’s current lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company filed suit against the agency after a collaborative epidemiologic investigation conducted

cantaloupesalmonella.bmpIn Cantaloupe: Sometimes a Rough Fruit, Gretchen Goetz at Food Safety News answers some of the questions that we (i.e. food safety lawyers), and probably the families of 12 people who have been sickened in the cantaloupe salmonella outbreak, have been asking now for a few days.  Why have cantaloupes been implicated in so many food poisoning outbreaks?  How does Salmonella get from the outside of a cantaloupe to the inside?  And what steps can consumers take in the future to prevent Salmonella and E. coli illnesses from cantaloupe?

Gretchen’s article:

The rind of a cantaloupe may be hard enough to knock on, but it’s not tough enough to keep out harmful pathogens, as an outbreak of Salmonella Panama reminded consumers this week. What is it that makes this melon one of the most common carriers of foodborne illness among fruits and vegetables?

Cantaloupe is particularly susceptible to contamination because it grows on the ground, where it can come into contact with bacteria from animal feces harbored in soil or rainwater runoff. However, like any fruit or vegetable, it can also pick up pathogens during harvest, handling or preparation.

Foodborne illness outbreaks from cantaloupe have been traced back to wash water, shipping ice and even contact with contaminated meat, according to a 2005 study in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Cantaloupe is also risky as a home for pathogens because of its unique skin. Bacteria sticks easily to the rough surface, and can even penetrate through the porous rind to the inside of the fruit.

Continue Reading Food Safety News feature: Q & A on cantaloupes after salmonella outbreak