THE deadly rockmelon listeria cases that have been in the news are a timely reminder about food safety.

Three Queenslanders are among fourteen people who have fallen ill across the country after eating contaminated rockmelons. Another six people – three from Victoria and three from New South Wales – have lost their lives.

The NSW Food Authority said: “Any affected product is being removed from the supply chain, so consumers can be assured rockmelons currently available on shelves are not implicated in this outbreak.”

House Call Doctor Chief Operating Officer Craig Glover said women who are pregnant, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable to listeriosis.

Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and sometimes diarrhoea.

Those who are vulnerable should avoid the following foods:

  • Pre-cut melons such as rockmelon or watermelon
  • Pre-packed cold salads, including coleslaw and fresh fruit salad
  • Pre-cooked cold chicken, cold delicatessen meats
  • Raw seafood, uncooked smoked seafood
  • Unpasteurised milk or milk products, soft cheeses
  • Sprouted seeds

“We strongly advise people who are vulnerable to avoid foods that have been labelled high risk.”