Salmonella outbreak linked to Watermelons

The Food Standards Agency announced this week that there has been an outbreak of Salmonella Newport which potentially is linked to the consumption of watermelons.

The outbreak is known to have affected at least 30 people in the UK as well as cases being reported to Germany. On average in the last 3 years 11 cases were reported in the same period.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA ) and the FSA have advised the best way to avoid salmonella is to wash or fruit and vegetables prior to consumption.

Newspaper reports suggest the watermelons were sourced from Brazil and  were pre-sliced. If this is the case it is highly unlikely that consumers would wash pre sliced watermelons.

If the source of the outbreak is linked to watermelons then the investigation would need to identify the source of the cross contamination.

Watermelons have a risk of potential contamination due to the fact they are grown on the ground with significant amounts of water used.

The melons could have then been contaminated on the surface which could have entered flesh when cut or they could have been washed with contaminated water.

It is alleged that the watermelons were identified by chance when the HPA were carrying out random listeria checks on products.

Last year there was a serious outbreak in the USA of listeria in melons resulting in 146 people being affected and 30 people dying.

Source: FSA, HPA, BBC, Daily Mail 





About ABurne

Andy Burne has worked in Technical Management for many years in the food industry. Now he is a certified BRC auditor and provides consultancy to the Food Industry.