NPR : News

Filed Under:

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


'Good Girls Revolt' Takes On Gender Bias In The Newsroom

Amazon's new series Good Girls Revolt, set in 1969, was inspired by a landmark gender bias case at Newsweek. Showrunners also hired women at every level of the cast and crew — a Hollywood rarity.

After A Long Day Of Fighting Climate Change, This Grain Is Ready For A Beer

Kernza is a kind of grassy wheat that traps more carbon in the soil than crops like wheat and rice. Now, a West Coast brewery is using the grain in its new beer called Long Root Ale.
WAMU 88.5

Why Millions Of American Men Have Left The Workforce, And How To Bring Them Back

Today’s unemployment rate is down sharply from the height of the Great Recession. But more than a fifth of American men had no paid employment last year, and seven million of them have stopped looking altogether. Why men are leaving the workforce – and how to bring them back.


Tesla Surprise: It's A Profit

The company posted a profit of nearly $22 million for the third quarter, the first quarterly profit since 2013. Tesla attributes the good results in part to new stores.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.