97 sick: Australian NT rockmelons test positive for Salmonella

Red Dirt rockmelons in Australia’s Northern Territories, have tested positive for Salmonella, at least 97 people are sick across Australia, two major supermarkets are proclaiming their produce safe – in the absence of any supporting data — so the New South Wales Food Authority decided to tweet this morning, “Beware! Food poisoning can come from any food that isn’t handled correctly.”

Cantaloupe-listeria-outbreakIt’s an animation, stunningly void of content.

And while it’s maybe part of a general campaign, because the majority of the 97 sick with Salmonella-in-rockmelon are based in NSW, maybe the food types have better things to do.

I’m not sure what is the right way to handle cantaloupe is, other than prevention – irrigation water, shit in the soil, dumptank cleanliness (if they are used) and employee sanitation – yet the regulators seem to have come up with their own version of blame-the-consumer (although once it’s cut, refrigerate immediately).

But that’s normal for outbreaks in Australia.

Soon, everyone will go back to sleep.

The only way to have more microbiological safety in foods is to demand it – through media coverage, social media, and marketing food safety, backed up with data.

Instead, all any growers are saying is, it wasn’t us, so please believe us when we tell you it is safe.

Show consumers the data.

Back it up with something other than platitutes.

And don’t fall for the organic, local sustainable, natural and gmo-free nonsense that has nothing to do with the things in food that make people barf.

awkward-yeti-food-poisoning1The Australian Melon Association said the outbreak had now been contained.

“All rockmelons from the affected farm have been removed from supermarket and greengrocer shelves nationwide,” a statement released today said.

“The grower is working with the Northern Territory Health Department to review its operations and will not resupply the market until the all-clear has been given.

Woolworths and Coles have removed all Red Dirt rockmelons from their stores and suspended further orders while health authorities investigate the matter.

A spokesman for Woolworths said only 2.5 per cent of the supermarket’s rockmelon supply nationwide was from the affected farm.

“Customers can continue to purchase alternatively sourced rockmelons from Woolworths with confidence,” he said.

A Coles spokesman said Red Dirt supplied their stores in all states and territories with the exception of Tasmania and Western Australia.

I’m sorry that innocent growers are going to lose sales, but Salmonella and Listeria in rockmelon is nothing new. The best way to manage a crisis is to be prepared.

And don’t depend on associations or government or retailers to do anything other than a meaningless-Bill-Clinton-I-share-your-pain.

They will all still be employed when this moves on.

A table of cantaloupe-related outbreaks is available at https://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Cantaloupe-Related-Outbreaks-8-12.xlsx. It will be updated soon.