I was wrong.
Australia isn’t 20 years behind the U.S. on foodborne illness issues.
(Well you can tell by the way I use my walk,
(I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk.)
The New South Wales farm at the centre of the rockmelon Listeria outbreak that claimed six lives has said it will resume supplying fruit to the public again this week.
Melinda Hayter and David Claughton of ABC report a statement by the Rombola Family Farms confirmed the state’s Food Authority has given them approval to resume production, packing and the sale of rockmelons.
The farm, which is based at Nericon near Griffith, has met all the requirements of the authority’s clearance program.
While a link between the contamination and the rockmelons was established, the farm’s statement said neither the authority nor an independent microbiologist were able to identify any specific source associated with Rombola or with the farm’s rockmelon washing, storage or packing facilities.
This was disputed by the State Government, with the NSW compliance and biosecurity director Peter Day saying that was “wrong”.
“There was very much direct linkages and direct proof that their rockmelons were responsible for the outbreak,” Mr Day said.
“We got positive testing in 20 rockmelons taken from different shops from Rombola [and] across the state, five whole rockmelons from different boxes from that farm, a boot swab from the packing area at the farm itself.”
The Australian melon industry also voiced concerns about farm receiving the all-clear.
In a statement, the Australian Melon Association (AMA) said the cause of the outbreak had not been “traced or adequality addressed.”
The association’s industry development manager, Dianne Fullelove, said growers were anxious to understand what went wrong, adding that they had not received a report on the outcomes of the Food Authority’s investigation.
“We are asking the growers supplying rockmelon now to brand or identify their rockmelons so that consumers will know the origin of the fruit,” Mrs Fullelove said.
The AMA said the melon industry was working to develop an accreditation scheme for rockmelon growers in collaboration with state health authorities.