3 Aug 2016

Don't eat rockmelon warning as salmonella cases spike

4:25 pm on 3 August 2016

Australia and New Zealand's food safety authority has warned people to avoid eating rockmelon as it investigates a spike in salmonella cases associated with the fruit in Australia.

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Photo: 123rf

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said in a statement that all consumers there, especially the elderly, children and pregnant women, should avoid eating rockmelon while it investigated the matter.

The authority said cases of salmonella poisoning associated with rockmelons were increasing in a number of Australia's states and territories.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said it was investigating whether any of the potentially contaminated produce had been imported to New Zealand.

In its statement, FSANZ pointed consumers to an Australian state government guide that suggested contaminated water, fertiliser, contact with pests and animals and failing to clean rockmelons properly before sale could be factors in cases of food poisoning linked to the fruit.

Rockmelons are grown in all Australian states and territories, except Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Rockmelons have been the subject of salmonella outbreaks in the past, with health authorities investigating contaminated fruit in 2006.

The state government guide said these precautions could help reduce the risk: