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Why You Should Wash A Melon Before Chowing Down

Have you ever heeded the advice to wash and dry a melon before digging in? Does anyone actually eat the skin of a honeydew or a cantaloupe anyway?

Well, even if you're not planning on a mega-dose of fibrous skin and rind, there is a good reason to rinse off that melon: germs. The knife that cuts through the melon's tough exterior can transfer nasty bugs to the sweet flesh you do consume.

That's why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies are reminding people to wash produce, including cantaloupes, amid an investigation into an outbreak of listeriosis reported in a half-dozen states that so far has been linked to the deaths of four people.

Interviews with people who got sick "strongly suggest that illnesses are linked to consumption of cantaloupes," the CDC said. Most of the cases have occurred in Colorado and New Mexico.

Some of the people recalled that the cantaloupes they ate came from the Rocky Ford area of Colorado. Colorado health officials warned people especially vulnerable to listeriosis, a bacterial infection marked by fever and muscle aches, to avoid the suspected melons:

Although washing and drying produce is a good practice, it does not reduce the chance of listeriosis for those who are at high risk. If you are at high risk for listeriosis, do not eat Rocky Ford cantaloupe.

Who's at risk? Pregnant women, newborns, people with weak immune systems, including those with AIDS. The elderly are also at greater risk.

For help with washing technique, check out this handy NPR guide from few years back. The experts and a mom give their two cents.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Compelling Plot Gives Way To Farce In Franzen's Purity

The new novel reveals sharp observations and a great, sprawling story. But critic Roxane Gay says the book gets bogged down with absurdly-drawn characters and misfired critiques of modern life.
NPR

Huge Fish Farm Planned Near San Diego Aims To Fix Seafood Imbalance

The aquaculture project would be the same size as New York's Central Park and produce 11 million pounds of yellowtail and sea bass each year. But some people see it as an aquatic "factory farm."
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Europe's Ongoing Migrant And Refugee Crisis And The Future Of Open Borders

The Austria-Hungary border has become the latest pressure point in Europe's ongoing migrant crisis. An update on the huge influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa and the future of open borders within the E.U.

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Environmental Outlook: How to Build Smarter Transportation And More Livable Cities

A new report says the traffic in the U.S. is the worst it has been in years. Yet, some urban transportation experts say there's reason to be optimistic. They point to revitalized city centers, emerging technology and the investment in alternative methods of transportation. A conversation about how we get around today, and might get around tomorrow.

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