Listeria caused by wet weather
A LOCALISED storm followed by a number of dust storms over a NSW rockmelon farm are believed to have caused a recent outbreak of listeria that killed six people.
A NSW Food Authority investigation found contamination at the farm near Griffith, owned by growers of 50 years, the Rombola family, occurred due to “adverse weather” that increased the levels of listeria on the fruit before harvest.
The bacterial outbreak that was identified in mid-February affected 19 people and led to the deaths of three in Victoria and three in NSW.
Listeria, or Listeria monocytogenes, is a hardy bacteria commonly found in soil, water and vegetation. Heavy rain can splash listeria from soil on to vegetables so those that grow on the ground such as melons are particularly susceptible.
Last week the farm got the nod to sell its fruit again.