SINGAPORE - Authorities are recalling all rockmelons from Australia to safeguard against the deadly bacterial disease, listeria, breaking out here.
New information from the authorities in Australia, where at least four people have died, suggests that more contaminated melons could have found their way into the Republic, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said on Thursday (March 8).
There has, however, been no reported case of listeriosis linked to the consumption of rockmelons here, noted AVA.
The latest move comes after it had completed an earlier recall of two consignments of contaminated melons on Monday.
A total of 17 cases of listeria have been confirmed across eastern Australian states.
Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria is found in the environment, such as soil, water and the faeces of humans and animals.
A person with mild listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, preceded by diarrhoea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. In severe cases, it can lead to brain and heart infections or complications in the foetuses of infected mothers.
Listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early.
The contaminated melons come from a farm in the eastern state of New South Wales, which has stopped production.
The Australian authorities have given the assurance there are no other affected farms in the country.
The AVA said it has taken samples of locally sold rockmelons for food safety tests, including testing for listeria, and that the results are pending.
It advises food retail establishments to temporarily stop the sale of rockmelons or use of rockmelons from Australia in dishes prepared for public consumption with immediate effect until further notice.
It added that that retailers unsure of the source of their rockmelons should also stop the sale or use of such rockmelons as a precaution.
"Consumers who have purchased rockmelons from Australia, or are unsure of the source of the rockmelons purchased, are advised not to consume them. Consumers who do not feel well after consumption of rockmelon should seek medical attention," said the AVA.