Australians, especially pregnant women, infants and the elderly, are being warned about eating rockmelon following an increase in salmonella cases, believed to be linked to the fruit.
Food Standards Australia issued a warning on Tuesday revealing they were investigating the possible link.
“State and territory food enforcement agencies are investigating cases of Salmonella, possibly associated with rockmelon, following an increase in cases in a number of states in Australia.”
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“While we wait for further information, the best advice is that consumers, especially infants, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems, should not consume rockmelon.”
According to the NSW food authority, “overseas evidence suggests contaminated water, fertiliser, contact with pests/animals or insufficient cleaning of rockmelons prior to sale could be contributing factors to rockmelons becoming contaminated with Salmonella.”
A health study reportedly showed that a number of customers in NSW fell ill with salmonella posioning after eating rockmelon.
The NSW Food Authority have released a list of precautions to help minimise the risk of Salmonella in rockmelons:
- Do not purchase melons that are bruised or damaged. If buying fresh cut produce, ensure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
- Fresh produce should be refrigerated within 2 hours of peeling or cutting. Leftover cut produce should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Wash all rockmelons with cool tap water immediately before eating. Don’t use soap or detergents. Scrub melons with a clean produce brush. Cut away any bruised or damaged areas before eating.
- Wash hands with hot soapy water before and after handling fresh rockmelons.
- Cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops should always be washed with hot soapy water and cleaned after coming in contact with fresh produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
- Use clean cutting boards and utensils when handling fresh produce. If possible, use 1 clean cutting board and knife for fresh produce and a separate board and knife for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.