Iowa escaped the listeria outbreak linked to melons that has killed 13 people in other states. Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director, Patricia Quinlisk, says the outbreak is a good reminder that even so-called “healthy” foods can cause problems if not properly handled.
Quinlisk says they want people to take precautions as you never know if the melon or fresh fruits you buy are contaminated, so she recommends that you wash all fresh fruit and vegetables before you prepare them. Quinlisk says it’s what’s on the outside, not the inside that can cause problems with melons.
“People don’t think about washing the melon maybe because they think well I’m not going to eat the outside of the melon,” Quinlisk says, “the problem with melons though is, once you cut it, you’re gonna to pull any bacteria that’s on the outside of the melon into the inside of the melon because of that knife cut.”
She says the melon is a good place for bacteria to grow, so the bottom line is you should wash any fruits and vegetables before you eat them. Quinlisk says fruits and vegetables are an important part of our diets. She says people shouldn’t stop eating fruits and vegetables, but just like meat, you need to prepare them in the right way and wash them off so you are sure they are clean before you eat them.
Deaths from the melon listeria outbreak were reported in New Mexico, Colorado, Texas , Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.