GEORGE TOWN, Jan 19 – Some 20,000 Gala and Granny Smith apples worth RM82,000 have been seized due to fears of listeriosis bacteria, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya. In a press conference in Balik Pulau today, he said the affected apples were only found in Sabah and Sarawak, so far.
It was reported that the bacteria was detected at a processing centre in Bidart Bros near Bakersfield, California. The US Food and Drug Administration found two strains of bacteria that cause listeriosis at an apple processing plant in California. The bacteria can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea, and in severe cases, death.
Meanwhile in Johor Baru, the health authorities will monitor all five ports in Johor to make sure that apples from the US will not be allowed into the state. Johor Health Department director Dr Mohd Khairi Yakub said the department received the directive from headquarters on Saturday.
“There isn’t any directive to seize any apples in the stalls and supermarkets as not all the apples come from the US. “The Health Ministry knows where the imported apples are, and will take the necessary action,” Dr Mohd Khairi assured the public when contacted today.