State and territory food enforcement agencies are investigating cases of Salmonella, possibly associated with rockmelon, following an increase in cases in a number of states.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) said in a statement that, until further information is received, consumers (especially infants, the elderly, pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems) should not consume rockmelon.
FSANZ will continue to work with the state and territory enforcement agencies and the Federal Department of Health and update its advice to consumers.
According to a NSW Health study, a number of NSW consumers fell ill with Salmonella poisoning after eating rockmelons. The study suggests whole and sliced rockmelons could contain Salmonella.
Rockmelons have been linked to Salmonella poisonings in the past, notably the United States during the 1950s, 1960s and in 2002.
The NSW Food Authority is advising consumers to take some simple precautions to minimise the risk from Salmonella in rockmelons. These include not buying damaged fruit, washing and refrigerating fruit; and washing hands, utensils and cutting boards after eating.