MO,9/3/2018, CYBERJAYA: The Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry has imposed a temporary ban on imported rockmelons (cantaloupes) from Australia following reports of listeria contamination. Its minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, said that the ban is a safety measure to prevent a listeria outbreak here through the consumption of contaminated melons.
“Also, the Australian government stopped the export of its rockmelons after an outbreak in the country. “In this respect, we also advise Malaysians to be extra careful following the outbreak,” Ahmad Shabery said after the ministry’s excellent awards presentation on Friday. On Tuesday, the Health Ministry was reported as saying that rockmelons imported from Australia after March 1 are safe for consumption and not contaminated with listeria.
It said its Food Safety and Quality division is working closely with the Australian High Commission here on the matter. According to Australian authorities, the listeria outbreak in the country is linked to melons from a farm in Nericon, New South Wales. The growers there had voluntarily stopped producing melons since Feb 23, following the contamination.
It was reported that three people have died and 12 others have fallen ill from exposure to the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, and that more cases are expected in Australia this week.