TWiM 4: Cantaloupes and Salmonella gastroenteritis

8 April 2011

cantaloupe recallHosts: Vincent Racaniello, Margaret McFall-Ngai, Cliff Mintz, and Michael Schmidt.

On episode #4 of the podcast This Week in Microbiology, Vincent, Cliff, Margaret, and Michael review foodborne bacterial illness in the context of outbreaks associated with cantaloupes and Lebanon bologna.

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  • Chris

    I recall hearing about a bacterial contamination of cantaloupe years ago, which is when I started to wash them in soapy water before slicing.

    Of course, I try to follow the rules. We actually cut meat products on the counter between the stove and sink, and the rest on the kitchen island to prevent cross contamination. Often I will prep for cooking by cutting the veggies on a dishwasher proof cutting board on the island, put them in bowls and set aside. Then move the cutting board to the counter, cut the meat and either put it in the bowl or the pan. Then put the cutting board in the dishwasher, set the knife to be hand washed next o the sink. Then cooking is quicker because I have everything ready, using a food safe mise a place.

    The other day I was watching an old cooking show with Julia Child. I just about gagged when I saw the other chef she was working with put an herb stuffing between the breast and skin, and then reach over to pick up salt from a bowl with his fingers without washing his hands or using a spoon!

    I have a TWiM idea from watching cooking shows, especially one that showed all of the varieties of salt: pink salt, which gets its color from an extremophile bacteria (a tidbit I want to share at the local upscale kitchen store when I get a chance!). Oh, cool, just checking the halophile wiki, I learned they are essential for some fermented foods like soy sauce, sauerkraut, anchovies, etc:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halophile