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December 06, 2011

Hoax email claims South African bananas infected with ''flesh-eating" bacterium

An email claiming that certain bananas from South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province have been poisoned with a flesh-eating bacterium has been clarified as a hoax email by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

In the email, members of the public are warned not to buy or eat the bananas as they will be infected by a flesh-eating bacterium. It further advises recipients to seek medical attention if they develop a fever after eating the bananas.

The Department of Agriculture's Acting Chief Director for Stakeholder Relations and Communications, Steve Galane, said Monday: "The information we received from the Department of Health is that the banana scare email is a hoax, and any claims regarding poor food safety will be investigated. The department said in its report that at this stage, they don't see any need to do so as they deem this claim to be a hoax."

The hoax email advises those who may have been infected by the "bacterium" to burn their skin around the infection to prevent it from spreading.

Galane said the department strongly advises against burning of the skin. "Deliberately burning your skin could lead to serious injury and permanent damage," he said.


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