Outbreak alert: Listeria in frozen vegetables in Australia and New Zealand

First it happened in Europe, and then in the land down under.

Like the United Kingdom did last month, Australia and New Zealand have recalled a wide amount of frozen vegetable products due to concerns of Listeria contamination — specifically Listeria monocytogenes.

The recall involves the same supplier as the overseas recall, and encompasses nine products that include frozen corn, carrots, peas and broccoli. The products originate from the United Kingdom, Belgium and Hungary.

“The products affected contain a particularly dangerous strain of Listeria and are being recalled as a precautionary measure to ensure consumers are protected,” said Peter May of Food Standards Australia New Zealand when the recall was first announced.

Listeria monocytogenes is a troublesome strain for food processors and consumers alike, because its symptoms can become serious and in the food processing plant, it can be difficult to get rid of. Symptoms of listeriosis (the name of the infection you get if you consume Listeria-contaminated food) include a fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. The outbreak in Europe has cost nine lives so far, and one in Australia.

“While many people will follow cooking instructions properly, which should kill Listeria bacteria, we are aware that some people eat frozen vegetables straight from the freezer and there is a risk of some people not cooking produce properly,” May said.

Consumers should always defrost and cook frozen vegetables and seek medical treatment if they feel unwell.

 

 

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