Rockmelon warning

Thursday, 1 March 2018

South Australians, particularly pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, are advised not to consume rockmelon following confirmation of a link to a national outbreak.

SA Health’s Director of Food and Controlled Drugs Branch, Dr Fay Jenkins, said there have been no cases of Listeria infection in South Australia associated with rockmelons.

“SA Health received confirmation today that rockmelons linked to a Listeria outbreak in New South Wales have been distributed in South Australia,” Dr Jenkins said.

“As a precaution, we recommend anyone who has rockmelon in their home to discard the product, and to not consume any other rockmelon until further notice.

“While we have not seen any cases of Listeria infection linked to rockmelons in South Australia, we know it can be an extremely serious infection especially in vulnerable people, such as the elderly, pregnant, or people with weakened immune systems, so it is imperative those people refrain from eating the fruit until further notice.”

SA Health is working with health authorities interstate to ensure the contaminated product is removed from the supply chain as soon as possible.

“We have confirmed the product is distributed in South Australia through Coles supermarkets and independent retail fruit and vegetable stores,” Dr Jenkins said.

“While the New South Wales grower linked to the outbreak voluntarily ceased production last Friday, we will continue to work with retailers to ensure any potentially contaminated rockmelons are removed from shelves as soon as possible.

“Many people are exposed to Listeria often with only mild illness resulting, but it can be more serious in at-risk groups, so all South Australians at-risk should avoid eating rockmelon until further notice.”

Listeriosis starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, and sometimes diarrhoea.

People can start experiencing symptoms within a few days, but they can take up to six weeks to appear after eating contaminated produce.

Those most at-risk include pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies, people aged over 70, people of all ages with immune systems weakened by disease or illness, and anyone on medication that can suppress the immune system.

If symptoms develop, people are advised to see their GP. Those in the at-risk groups should consult their GP as early as possible if any symptoms appear.

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