After realizing that the pre-cut food market is an estimated 14 billion dollar industry in North America , we decided that targeting our issue on a consumer level by looking at improving the quality of our grocery stores would help the most people. When you buy a pre-cut cantaloupe, or any other kind of fruit, you cannot always see or change how the fruit is cut or sold. With our solution, we can regulate how grocery stores involuntarily spread bacteria.
The device: uMelon
The device that we came up with is a melon peeler that can be used in grocery stores instead of starting with the traditional large knife. The device lets the melon rest on an inverted dome shape that has a curved blade placed on tracks along the side, allowing the blade to be utilized on the inside of the device. The handle that attaches to the blade will be controlled by a spring, so it can conform to the shape of each individual melon by pushing the blade into the fruit. It will also retract when the handle receives no pressure. When the melon is placed in the dome, pressure plates on the bottom and top will, again, conform to the shape of the melon. The lid of the device will click in place to hold everything together, and to protected the operator from the blade. When you insert the melon into the device, the blade will make a minuscule incision where, when turned, a strip of rind will be peeled of the entire sphere of melon, with the exception of one small piece. After the strip of rind has been removed, then the person cutting the fruit to be sold will continue by using a typical clean knife to cut the flesh revealed by the peeler, and at this point the small piece of rind left at the back will break from the weight of the sides. Then they can proceed by cutting the interior fruit out of its rind without ever having to cut through the rind. This process will greatly reduce exposure to bacteria, such as Listeria, to the edible inside of the cantaloupe. By using the traditional cutting methods, bacteria residing on the exterior of the melon is drawn into the fruit by the action of cutting.