Rockmelon deaths spark WHO warning on global food chain

AS THE United States battles its deadliest food-borne disease threat in 25 years – an outbreak of listeriosis linked to rockmelons – the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of the growing global challenge from contaminated food.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 23 deaths among at least 116 people across 25 states made ill from listeria, an organism more commonly associated with contaminated meat.

The illness, also linked to a miscarriage in one woman, was sourced to a rockmelon farm in Colorado, which has now withdrawn the produce.

But the CDC says more cases are likely as two months can elapse between eating contaminated food and developing listeriosis.

Meanwhile, WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan has warned that the world has become more vulnerable to food-borne illness due to the complexities of the global supply chain.

“Outbreaks of food-borne disease have become an