The Institute of Public Health has discovered a national outbreak caused by the gastrointestinal bacterium monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium. So far, infection has been detected in 18 people. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority cooperates with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute on the outbreak. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is now working to trace the relevant watermelons.
– We consider it highly unlikely that melons associated with the outbreak are still on the market, says senior adviser Catherine Signe Svindland at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
According to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, all 13 people who have been interviewed so far have eaten watermelon in the last few days before they fell ill. Most of the people fell ill in the period from the end of June to the middle of July 2022 and whole watermelon has a shelf life of 3-4 weeks.
– Melon grows on the ground in countries with a warm climate. There have previously been many outbreaks of salmonella from various types of melon. Bacteria grow very well in the melon flesh because melon has a neutral PH compared to other fruits, a lot of sugar and a high water content. If there is a wound through the skin, bacteria can enter the pulp, grow and become very numerous. Bacteria can also enter the pulp from the skin when you split the melon. If you buy ready-cut melon, feel free to ask the shop about their routines, says senior advisor Catherine Signe Svindland at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has the following advice on safe handling of melons:
- Do not use melons with damage to the skin that goes into the pulp.
- Wash the melon well and dry it with paper before cutting it into pieces.
- Wash your hands and equipment thoroughly with soap and water after handling melon.
- Sliced melon should be kept cool.
Read more at the Institute of Public Health: Outbreak of Salmonella in Norway probably linked to watermelon (fhi.no)
Read more at the Veterinary Institute: Outbreak of salmonella probably linked to watermelon (vetinst.no)