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15 September 2009

Paw paw linked to food poisoning cases

The Department of Health is warning the public to take care when handling or consuming paw paw after a number of recent food poisoning cases have been linked to the fruit.

Environmental Health Director Jim Dodds said seven cases of salmonella associated with paw paw had been confirmed in Western Australia over the past six weeks, hospitalising one person.

In light of these preliminary findings the Department of Health advises consumers to follow these simple food safety tips when handling paw paw:

  • Wash all paw paws with running tap water immediately before eating. This includes paw paw that has been cut prior to purchasing.
  • After cutting paw paw at home thoroughly wash hands, cutting boards and knives.

Mr Dodds said while eating fruit was vital for good health it was important that people practised good food hygiene when preparing fresh fruit and vegetables.

“As a precaution people should wash all fruit and ready to eat vegetables under running water before consuming,” he said.

Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever and headache and anyone experiencing these symptoms should consult their doctor.

The Department of Health is continuing to investigate the matter.

Media Contact: (08) 9222 4333

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