In the wake of a national listeria scare, the Agriculture and Food Minister is calling on West Australian consumers to support our local rockmelon industry.
Alannah MacTiernan is encouraging shoppers to buy and eat rockmelons to help the state’s $23 million industry and local workers.
Ms MacTiernan says rockmelons in WA are not affected by the listeria outbreak in the eastern states.
She says measures have been taken to ensure WA rockmelons are safe to eat and confirmed no WA melons were found to carry the bacteria.
“We have also done checks that none of the melons grown in the farm affected in NSW have come into WA,” she said.
The WA Department of Health has also advised that trace-back procedures have shown no affected products have been consigned to WA.
Rockmelon grower Bruno Capegreco, owner of Capegreco farms in Hamel, near Waroona, says his farm has suffered losses of more than $1 million.
He says Japanese buyers have started to place small orders with his company, but there hasn’t been a fast enough turnaround to keep his rockmelon business steady.
“It’s probably the only positive thing in the past two weeks,” he said.
Mr Capogreco says no rockmelons have yet been thrown out, but many will soon be slashed and removed.
“This will be a tough time for our growers. Western Australians can show their support for local industry and local jobs by eating rockmelon,” Ms MacTiernan said.
Below you can hear some edited highlights of Mr Capegreco and Ms MacTiernan’s press conference.