Rock melons released for sale after clearing tests

All consignments of rock melons from the affected grower that were imported into Singapore have been recalled and destroyed, AVA said.
All consignments of rock melons from the affected grower that were imported into Singapore have been recalled and destroyed, AVA said.PHOTO: AFP

About 100 tonnes of rock melons imported from Australia were released back to importers yesterday for sale after clearing tests, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said.

The Australian authorities have identified one affected grower - Rombola Family Farms - that is linked to an outbreak of human listeria in the country that made headlines earlier this month.

All consignments of rock melons from the affected grower that were imported into Singapore have been recalled and destroyed, AVA said.

All other rock melons not from affected sources have been released back to importers for sale.

AVA took samples from these melons for testing, and they tested negative for Listeria monocytogenes.

It recalled all whole rock melons or cantaloupes from Australia on March 8 as a precautionary measure while waiting for clarification on the sources of the melons.

Five people have reportedly died so far after eating contaminated melons.

The Guardian newspaper reported yesterday there have been at least 17 confirmed cases of listeria linked to contaminated melons.

Listeriosis, an infection caused by listeria bacteria, does not cause illness in most people but can lead to sickness and even death for those with weakened or compromised immune systems, including newborn babies, pregnant women and the elderly. Symptoms include fever, muscle ache and diarrhoea.

Last week, the Ministry of Health said there was no report of anyone in Singapore contracting the bacterial disease as a result of eating the rock melons.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2018, with the headline 'Rock melons released for sale after clearing tests'. Print Edition | Subscribe