Chef Michael Fleshner asked if I would share this on my blog. It is interesting reading. Demonstrating that because melons are grown on the ground. And due to the porous nature of the Cantaloupe's outer rind we should use caution when we cut and store this fruit.
Potentially Hazardous Food: Cut Melons
It’s not new information that cut melons are on the FDA’s list of potentially hazardous food (PHF). What might be new information is the reason why melons are considered a PHF. Since melons grow on the ground, their rinds are more likely to come in contact with pathogenic bacteria from the soil, water, or manure. Melons also have an external texture that is favorable to bacteria. The porous rind of cantaloupes, watermelon, and honeydew allows bacteria to pass through the surface when cutting. In the case of cantaloupes, the unique texture of the rind enables bacteria to stick easily and remain alive even after harvesting.
Once they reach a food facility, melons can pose a serious risk of foodborne illness if not properly washed and refrigerated. The FDA recommends the following steps to keep fresh melon safe for customers:
- Inspect melon rinds for cracks or other damage prior to preparation; avoid use if damage is found.
- Wash melons under cool running water, removing surface dirt. Scrub rind with a clean produce brush.
- Wash hands properly before cutting melons.
- Ensure food contact surfaces are sanitized before use.
- Most importantly, ensure cut melons are refrigerated at 40F or below once cut.
Follow these guidelines to ensure that cut melons never become a source of foodborne illness for your customers.