Believe it or not, there’s never been a case of food-borne illness related to the watermelon itself. It’s true. In the very few instances in which people got sick after eating watermelon, it was because they either cut the watermelon with a contaminated knife or they didn’t handle the watermelon properly after cutting it.
Still, there are a few things you can do to keep your watermelon clean and safe, and a lot of this is common sense:
1. Choose a firm watermelon, free of major cracks, dents or bruises.
2. The FDA says to wash all fruits and veggies before cutting, so be sure to wash and dry the outer surface of your watermelon before cutting it.
3. Wash your hands and wash all cutting surfaces, knives and other utensils.
4. Refrigerate it after cutting it! Either by placing chunks in a bag or container or placing plastic wrap over the exposed part of the watermelon.
The bottom line is this: When in doubt, throw it out! It might be tough to bring yourself to toss out all that watermelon, but it’s probably better in the long run. Besides, wouldn’t you rather have some fresh, crisp watermelon anyhow?
FUN FACT: Studies have shown that watermelon, because of its smooth, thick skin, is one of the naturally cleanest produce items available and has the lowest numbers of detectable residues. Watermelon actually shares this squeaky clean distinction with one vegetable. Guess which one by leaving a comment.