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Indonesia bars import of rock melons from Australia after listeria outbreak

Staff Writer |
The Indonesian government has banned shipments of rock melons from Australia following the deaths of several people there after eating the fruit contaminated by bacteria, government officials said Thursday.

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Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman said that the ministry has unveiled a ministerial decree to prohibit importation of rock melons from Australia to Indonesia.

"Rock melons from Australia is not allowed to enter Indonesia. This aims to protect our consumers," he said at the Jakarta Convention Center.

The ban has been effective since March 3 and the decree has also been coordinated with the Australian embassy in Jakarta, according to him.

The minister stressed that should a shipment of the horticultural commodity to Indonesia be found after March 3, the fruits would be destroyed.

In Australia, four people have died with scores of others affected after consuming rock melons contaminated by the listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

Listeria is classified as a common bacterium that does not affect most people, still the bacteria is a threat for the elderly, pregnant women, and those suffering from diabetes or cancer.

The bacteria requires up to 70 days for its incubation.

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