AVA recalls all rockmelons from Australia over listeria scare

AVA recalls all rockmelons from Australia over listeria scare
PHOTO: Pixabay

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has recalled all rockmelons imported from Australia as a precautionary measure over an outbreak of human listeriosis.

New information from Australian authorities suggest that more contaminated rockmelons had been exported to Singapore. The whole rockmelons, or cantaloupe, from the specific Australian grower have been linked to an outbreak of human listeriosis there, where four people have died.

AVA had earlier recalled two consignments of rockmelons from the implicated source. 

Australian authorities confirmed that the farm had stopped production on Feb 23 and that there are no other affected farms in Australia. 

AVA said it will continue to work with the Australian authorities on this matter. It added that earlier samples of locally sold rockmelons have been sent for food safety tests, including testing for listeria. The results are pending.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria is found in the environment, such as soil, water, effluents and the faeces of humans and animals. 

Food items which could be contaminated by the bacteria include raw or ready-to-eat foods, such as raw (unpasteurised) milk or raw meat and their products, seafood, and fresh produce including fruits and vegetables.

A person with mild listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, preceded by diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

There have been no reported cases of listeriosis linked to consumption of rockmelons in Singapore, said the AVA.

It advised food retail establishments to temporarily stop the sale of rockmelons or the use of rockmelons in dishes prepared for public consumption with immediate effect until further notice.

This applies to rockmelons from Australia. However, if retailers are unsure of the source of their rockmelons, they should also stop the sale or use of such rockmelons as a precaution, advised AVA.

Consumers who have purchased rockmelons from Australia, or are unsure of the source of the rockmelons purchased, are advised not to consume them. Consumers who do not feel well after consumption of rockmelon should seek medical attention.

Graphic: The Straits Times


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