Latest progress of CFS' follow up on Australian rockmelons suspected to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said today (March 6) that the Centre has been closely following up on the incident that rockmelons produced in New South Wales, Australia might have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The CFS’ investigations confirmed that four local importers had imported the affected rockmelons into Hong Kong between January 1 and February 28 this year. The trade should stop using or selling the affected product immediately if they possess it.
 "The Centre, through its Food Incident Surveillance System, noted a notice issued by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand that a batch of rockmelons produced in New South Wales, Australia might have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and are being recalled. The CFS immediately contacted the authorities concerned for follow up. According to the information provided by the Australian authorities, local importers, Wing Kee Produce Limited, ETAK International Ltd., Wing Hong Woo and Ming Kee Chan Co., Ltd., have imported the affected product into Hong Kong," a spokesman for the CFS said.
The CFS immediately contacted the four importers and all of them confirmed that they had imported the affected product which was already sold out. The importers have initiated a recall according to the CFS’ advice. Members of the public may call the hotlines of the importers concerned: Wing Kee Produce Limited at 2796 3111; ETAK International Ltd. at 2487 3800; Wing Hong Woo at 2376 2484 and Ming Kee Chan Co., Ltd. at 2517 2686 during office hours for enquiries. The CFS’ follow-up on the case continues.
“Listeria monocytogenes can be easily destroyed by cooking but can survive and multiply at refrigerator temperature. Most healthy individuals do not develop symptoms or only have mild symptoms like fever, muscle pain, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea when infected. However, severe complications such as septicemia, meningitis or even death may occur in newborns, the elderly and those with a weaker immune system. Although infected pregnant women may just experience mild symptoms generally, the infection of Listeria monocytogenes may cause miscarriage, infant death, preterm birth, or severe infection in newborns," the spokesman said.

The Centre also advised consumers to wash and scrub the surface of the whole rockmelon with a clean produce brush under clean running water before cutting it for consumption. The Centre has not received any reports about listeriosis caused by consumption of rockmelons in the past two months.
The CFS will continue to closely monitor the case and take appropriate follow-up action. Investigation is ongoing.
Ends/Tuesday, March 6, 2018