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Hot Water Bath Eliminates Pathogens on Cantaloupe

"The 2011 outbreak of Listeria monocytogenesis in cantaloupe sparked a heightened level of interest in efforts to make cantaloupe safer, with fruit and produce trade associations developing safety guidelines and California cantaloupe growers pushing to set safety goals.

Bassam Annous, Ph.D., a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, might just have the solution the cantaloupe industry seeks. Since 2005, Annous has been developing a cost-effective treatment to kill pathogens on cantaloupe rinds by submerging the melons in hot water.

In Annous' lab, a three minute bath in 168 degree Fahrenheit water has been shown to cause greater than 5-log reductions of Salmonella from the surface of cantaloupe -- that's a 99.999 percent elimination. By comparison, chemical washes on cantaloupe generally achieve a 2-log, or 99 percent, reduction -- a significant difference when it comes to counting microbes."

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