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06/03/18: Rockmelons from listeria-affected source in Australia were sold in Singapore

rockmeloncantaloupe-bloombergTwo consignments of rockmelons imported from a grower that has been implicated in a deadly outbreak of human listeriosis in Australia were sold in Singapore between Feb 12 and Mar 2, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said on Monday (Mar 5).

The rockmelons from these consignments were sold at Sheng Siong supermarket outlets and wet markets.

AVA has since worked with importers to remove the remaining unsold rockmelons from the affected consignments. Upon AVA’s notification, Sheng Siong voluntarily removed the affected rockmelons, it added.

“The recall has been completed. There has been no further import of rockmelons from the affected grower since, and import has been suspended,” AVA said in a press release.

The rockmelons originated from a specific grower in New South Wales, Australia in February, AVA said, adding that it has also taken samples of locally sold rockmelons from other sources for food safety tests, including testing for listeria.

AVA added that all rockmelons currently available for sale were not implicated in the recall.

AVA said in the press release that it worked with importers to remove the remaining unsold fruit after the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) notified them of a recall in Australia of whole rockmelons.

It is also following up with FSANZ for updates on the case.

AVA advised consumers who suspect that they may have purchased the affected rockmelons within the affected time period not to consume it. Those who do not feel well after consumption should also seek medical attention.

WHAT IS LISTERIA?

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes, which is found in the environment, such as soil, water, and feces.

The incubation period of listeria ranges from 3 to 70 days. A person with mild listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Pregnant women, the elderly or individuals with a weakened immune system are at highest risk of serious disease, which could include brain and heart infections or complications in the fetus.

Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early.

The key to preventing listeria lies in safe handling, cooking, and consumption of food, AVA said.

“As rock melons are typically eaten raw, thorough washing of the raw fruits is advisable before consumption. Consumers should seek medical attention as early as possible if symptoms appear within 70 days after consuming Australian rockmelon,” AVA said.

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