Officials warn to wash all farm, packaged fruits

Unharvested cantaloupes sat in a field in Owensville last week. Mixed messages from state and federal health officials contributed to confusion among consumers.

Toss all the melons or just wash them?

The advice and information coming from state health officials in the aftermath of the recent salmonella outbreak linked to tainted cantaloupes were more confusing than helpful to many consumers, as well as to farmers.

The outbreak so far has affected 178 people across 21 states, killing two and hospitalizing 62. When the outbreak was first announced, state and federal officials disagreed about the safety of melons grown in southwest Indiana.

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