Blame the consumer, cantaloupe edition: health type blames consumers for salmonella outbreak

With at least two people dead and 178 sick from Salmonella linked to cantaloupe in 21 states, Jim Howell of the Indiana Department of Health told growers improper food handling procedures may be to blame for a good portion of the illnesses.

“The American consumer doesn’t understand the farm,” he was quoted as saying by Associated Press. “They treat fresh produce just like it was packaged food. A big problem is that home economics is not taught in schools anymore. People don’t know this stuff. I have a daughter-in-law who can’t cook at all. I doubt she would know to wash fresh produce. More and more often the attitude is becoming, if it looks clean, let’s eat it.”

He went on to say he would like to hear suggestions about how to label the packaging to include directions for food safety.

“Most of the bacteria is on the surface. People just need to clean their produce before they eat it.”

Howell also suggested that cleaning a cantaloupe with soap, water and a very small amount of bleach is a good idea before ingesting it because the surface is so rough.

Not quite Mr. Health Type.

Bleach, maybe; soap, no.

There’s a lot of idiotic stuff in these quotes, if that is what he actually said. But I’ll refrain from judgment until real health types complete their investigation and issue their report.