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Aussies Melons Containing Listeria ‘Shipped To At Least Nine Countries’

World Health Organisation issues alert

Aussies Melons Containing Listeria ‘Shipped To At Least Nine Countries’ Image: Pixabay

Shipments of Australian-grown rockmelons contaminated with listeria were exported to at least nine countires, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO say the cantaloupes were reportedly sent to Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and may also have also gone to the Seychelles, SBS reports.

A total of 19 confirmed and one probable case of listeriosis were reported in Australia between January 17 and April 6, alongside six deaths.

Australian melon producer Rombola Family Farms recalled the fruit on February 27, with the exports uncovered by Australian authorities on March 2, prompting an alert to the International Food Safety Authorities Network.

"It is believed that the cause of the outbreak was a combination of environmental conditions and weather contaminating the surface of the fruit, with low levels of the bacteria persisting after the washing process," the WHO said.

"The grower continues to work closely with the relevant authorities and has returned to supply rockmelons (during the week starting 2 April) after testing cleared the property."

According to NSW Health, the incubation period of listeriosis varies from three to 70 days but the average is about three weeks.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhoea.