Consumer Alert: Salmonella-contaminated cantaloupe

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PITTSBURGH —

A warning has been issued about contaminated cantaloupe. The outbreak that has killed two people and sickened 141 in 20 states, including a couple of people here in Pennsylvania. Target 11 Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor found out these food poisonings could have been prevented.

This is the second health scare involving cantaloupes in the past 12 months. This time, the outbreak is caused by salmonella, and that's got stores across the country pulling melons from the shelves.

Last year, cantaloupes contaminated with listeria killed 30 people. Back in January, congress wanted new safety rules put in place, but that hasn't happened.

Now, food safety groups are calling on farms to adopt strict standards to prevent future outbreaks.

"Be sure you don't have manure close to the field. Be sure your water is clean. Make sure your workers are wearing gloves," said David Plunket, with the Center For Science In The Public Interest.

Melons are especially vulnerable because their rough exterior can hide pathogens. Cantaloupes have been linked to 13 salmonella outbreaks in the past 20 years.

Washing the fruit won't prevent infection because the bacteria are inside the melon.

This current outbreak has been traced to a farm in southwest Indiana. If you have cantaloupe from Indiana, return it to the store you bought it for a refund.