3 August 2016
South Australian health authorities have detected Salmonella on rockmelons supplied by a Northern Territory rockmelon grower.
The link comes after a spike in Salmonella Hvittingfoss cases, a rare strain of Salmonella, across a number of states in the past weeks, with 86 cases reported nationally, 43 of them in NSW.
Following the positive test results, confirmed by SA Health on Tuesday 2 August, the company ‘Red Dirt’ has said it will undertake a trade level recall of their product, which means it will be removed from the supply chain so consumers can be assured rockmelons currently available on shelves are not implicated in this outbreak.
The NSW Food Authority and the local NT health agency are working with the company in resolving the issue.
Further, as a precautionary measure, the NSW Food Authority advises anyone who may have rockmelon in their home and is unsure of its origin not to consume the product.
It is always important to use caution when preparing or consuming the fruit, particularly if it is being prepared for or consumed by the young, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems.
Simple food safety precautions
Some simple food safety precautions will help minimise the risk of Salmonella in rockmelons, including:
- Always purchase undamaged and unbruised rockmelon and if it is pre-sliced ensure it is refrigerated promptly
- Discard sliced or peeled rockmelon that has been left at room temperature for more than 2 hours
- Wash hands thoroughly with warm soapy water before and after handling rockmelon
- Use clean chopping boards and utensils when preparing rockmelon and thoroughly wash in hot soapy water after cutting or peeling
The NSW Food Authority will continue to work with other jurisdictions via the National Food Incident Response Protocol to monitor the situation.
Further food safety advice relating to the safe preparation and storage of rockmelon can be found at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/foodsafetyandyou/special-care-foods/rockmelons