Last week, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued a recall for certain brands of cantaloupes as they are suspected to be at the origin of Salmonella outbreaks across Canada, which can be very serious and even lead to death. The recall also includes any products made from these cantaloupes or that might have come into contact with them (i.e. honeydew, pineapple, watermelon, and fruit trays from the same brand) (2,3).
This is a good time to remind everyone of the importance of washing your fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them.
That is even if you plan on peeling them (i.e. banana makes the exceptions) or if they look or smell “ok” (i.e. contamination might not always be visible or have a smell) (3,4).
Health Canada recommends to first wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before washing your produce. The best way to clean your fruits and vegetables is to rinse them thoroughly under fresh, cool running water – produce cleansers are not necessary. The same should be done for fresh herbs, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Scrubbing produce with firmer surfaces is also recommended using a clean produce brush (e.g., oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots, etc.). Don’t forget to wash your peeler, knife and cutting board before using them again (1,4,5,6,7).
If you bought cantaloupes between October 10 and November 24, check if they were from the brand targeted by the recall. If they are recalled or you are not sure, it is recommended that you dispose of them or contact the retailer you got them from (2,3).