Singapore recalls all rockmelons from Australia as more listeria-affected batches exported

Singapore recalls all rockmelons from Australia as more listeria-affected batches exported

File photo of rockmelons.

SINGAPORE: The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) on Thursday (Mar 8) announced a recall of all rockmelons from Australia as a "precautionary measure".

This is because it received new information from Australian authorities, indicating that more listeria-affected consignments had been exported to Singapore.

The listeria outbreak has so far been traced to a specific grower in the state of New South Wales. AVA had a few days ago recalled two consignments of rockmelon from this grower. Rockmelons from those two consignments were sold at Sheng Siong stores and wet markets between Feb 12 and Mar 2.

"We expanded the recall to include all rockmelons from Australia immediately after receiving the latest updates from the Australian authorities," said AVA in a media release. 

"The Australian authorities confirmed that the farm had stopped production on Feb 23 and that there are no other affected farms in Australia. AVA will continue to work with the Australian authorities on this matter."

In Australia, four people have died and 13 others fell ill after consuming melon contaminated with listeria.

Singapore authorities said that to date, there have been no such cases reported here.

"We had earlier taken samples of locally sold rockmelons for food safety tests, including testing for listeria. The results are pending," added AVA.

It also advised food retail establishments to temporarily stop selling rockmelons from Australia as well as to stop using them in dishes immediately until further notice.

"If retailers are unsure of the source of their rockmelons, they should also stop the sale or use of such rockmelons as a precaution," said the authority.

Consumers who have bought rockmelons from Australia - or who are unsure where the rockmelons they bought come from - are advised not to eat them, AVA added. Those who do not feel well after consuming rockmelon should seek medical attention.

Listeria is a bacteria which causes listeriosis, a form of food poisoning that is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, preceded by diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal symptoms that appear within 70 days after consumption of the contaminated food item.

Source: CNA/nc