Pathogens are ubiquitous. They’re in every field, on every iPhone, and even in your intestines. Foodborne pathogens easily contaminate foods like melons and cause illnesses like Salmonellosis.
Mishandling food (temperature, time, cleanliness) creates opportunities for bacterial growth. Ideal conditions for bacterial growth vary based on the species of bacteria. Factors including acidity, temperature, generation time, oxygen (anaerobic vs. aerobic), and moisture levels all play a role in a bacteria’s ability to survive. Processing and packaging play significant roles in reducing microbial counts in food products, but some food items still have intrinsic characteristics making them prone to contamination, like Salmonella in raw chicken.
Mishandling fresh produce heightens the risk of contaminating the product and causing foodborne illnesses. Ready-to-eat produce (i.e., pre-cut melon) risks potential contamination because these items are typically minimally processed and consumed raw.
Pathogens like Salmonella easily contaminate products like melons because the pre-cut melon slices are minimally processed and then packaged. Salmonella needs ample resources like water, so melons are the perfect environment for Salmonella. Also, Salmonella is a facultative anaerobic organism (meaning it doesn’t require oxygen to grow), so sealed packaging does not inhibit Salmonella’s growth.
How Do You Safely Prepare Melons?
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