Rockmelon listeria outbreak claims fifth life

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 19th March 2018

A fifth person has died after eating rockmelon contaminated with listeria.

The fifth death was a Victorian man aged in his 80s.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton, said last Friday 16 March 2018 that the man’s death has only just been linked to the listeria outbreak after microbiological testing was conducted.

“And sadly, the investigation has also confirmed that a miscarriage has also been linked to the outbreak,” Sutton said late last week.

Dr Sutton reminded the public that all affected rockmelons were now withdrawn from sale and distribution.

He also reminded the public that pregnant women should avoid eating pre-cut melon.

A day before the fifth death was announced, Rombola Family Farms, the farm which the NSW Food Authority has linked the contaminated rockmelons back to, released its first statement on the incident after being named by the NSW Food Authority.

“We have been working co-operatively with the Authority, and directly with the entire supply chain to assist with further investigations and to identify, quarantine and remedy the source of the listeria,” Rombola Family Farms said.

“All action to suspend operations in the potentially affected types of melons have been taken by Rombola Family Farms on a voluntary basis – in line with our commitment to upholding the best interests of consumers.”

Rombola Family Farms said that it regularly tests its products in line with industry best practice and is regularly subject to independent food safety audits.

“As a family business we are all too aware of the impact the outbreak is having on fellow growers and the wider industry,” Rombola Family Farms said.

“We remain ever vigilant to food safety and contamination risks and are focused on working to achieve a resolution for all stakeholders. Safety and quality are at the centre of what we do – year on year we examine and improve our systems and technology and we believe we operate one of the most advanced grower and packer facilities in the industry.”


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