Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cantaloupe Cleaner

Sherri, you asked:
"Would rubbing a slice of lemon on the peeled melon kill any transferred salmonella?"
He doesn't address your question exactly, but Trevor Suslow at the University of California, Davis, put together a paper this week (posted yesterday, possibly motivated by the Honduran incident) that focuses on the home-cleaning issue:

Salmonella and Cantaloupe: What Can Consumers Really Do? (pdf)

Here's what he said about vinegar:
  • White vinegar was better than brown.
  • It takes quite a lot to be effective, so spraying a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar mixed with one cup tap water over the surface of the melon may be a best choice.
  • Let set for at least 2 minutes, preferably 10 minutes, and then rinse.
He also addresses the use of cleaners such as a bleach solution (not recommended because of additives), hydrogen peroxide (not recommended because of additives), and commercial vegetable washes (thought to be helpful but not fully vetted). Other soaps and detergents are also not recommended because of non-food-grade additives.

I recall in my reading that organic acids, of the type you mentioned, weren't as effective. I thought they would be. I'll post if I find anything.

His conclusion:
Are These Wash Steps Necessary?
"Unfortunately, we can’t truly answer this most reasonable question."

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