AFTERMATH: Melon sales down 90%, fruit left unpicked

12th March 2018 10:08 AM
The rockmelon has been hit hard with recent listeria scare. The rockmelon has been hit hard with recent listeria scare.

THE melon industry has been hit hard by the recent listeria outbreak that saw two people die.

The Australian Melon Association released a statement saying the outbreak was linked to only one grower who has now ceased production and is working proactively with government authorities to investigate how any contamination occurred.

"A Trade Level Recall was issued by the business on February 28, 2018 for rockmelon from February 9 through February 23, 2018," the statement said.

"All affected product has been removed from the supply chain, both in the domestic market and export markets." 

The association is confirming all Australian rockmelon currently available for sale, both domestically and export are not implicated in this outbreak and that no other businesses have been implicated in the recall or have any association with the affected business.  

Dianne Fullelove, Industry Development Manager said the industry has been hit hard.

"The impact on other melon businesses has been severe with sales reduced by more than 90%," she said.

"A lot of fruit is unpicked in fields and will have to be dumped as there is no market for it.

"This has had an adverse flow-on effect to the regional communities that rely on these farms.

"This incident has caused a severe impact on our export markets with a number of countries raising concerns.

"We want to reassure importing countries that all affected fruit has been removed from the supply chain." 

To ensure that this does not occur again, the industry is implementing a program to work closely with melon growers to ensure that all food safety standards are met and exceeded.

"We are taking this outbreak very seriously and have met with a number of stakeholders to work together to meet our market and trading partners expectations", Mrs. Fullelove said.