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Rockmelon recalled after listeria outbreak leaves two dead

Potentially contaminated rockmelon has been recalled from supermarkets after two people died from food poisoning.

ABC News reports that two victims in NSW died after consuming rockmelon containing a bacteria called listeria.

Authorities identified a total of 10 cases across NSW, Victoria and Queensland – NSW being the most affected region with six cases.

The outbreak has been traced back to a farm in Nericon in the Riverina region.

Australians should ditch any rockmelons they have at home, particularly if they are at a high risk of being affected by listeria.

Listeria causes a serious infection known as listeriosis. This infection mostly affects pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and adults with weakened immune systems. It rarely affects people outside of these groups.

“All the cases linked to this have been elderly people and both the deaths were over 70 years of age,” NSW Health director of communicable diseases Vicki Shepherd told ABC News.

The symptoms include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.

In healthy adults, symptoms may include diarrhoea and fever.

Shepherd told ABC News that the bacteria is on the skin of the rockmelon but may be transferred to the flesh of the fruit when it is cut.

“Vulnerable people should always take a lot of care with cut fruit, so they shouldn’t purchase pre-cut fruit of any kind and they should take care with cutting and storing of melons of any type,” she added.

At least one Australian would like the rockmelon recall to be extended.

This isn’t the only food recall that has taken place in Australia recently.

In mid-February, Cadbury was forced to recall its new Caramilk bars after they were found to contain “small flexible pieces of food grade plastic”. One of our writers was even brave stupid enough to try it.

The recall led to Kiwis selling the bars to Aussies at a huge markup, with the New Zealand Herald reporting that Caramilk blocks were going for $50 apiece. Ebay currently has listings of non-recalled Caramilk for $15 a bar.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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