Popular brands of frozen vegetables are being recalled from supermarkets across Australia over fears of potential contamination by the deadly listeria bacteria, which killed six people in NSW and Victoria earlier this year.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) today issued an alert for a number of brands of vegetable products across Aldi, Woolworths and IGA stores.
Some of the vegetables were imported from Europe, and the recall in Australia comes after recent recalls in the United Kingdom over the same contamination fears.
Major brands affected
Belgium-based frozen food distributor Greenyard Frozen NV is conducting the recall of its products.
The following products sold in Australia have been included in the recall:
- Woolworths – Essentials snap frozen mixed veg 1kg: Carrots, peas, corn, green beans & potatoes – National distribution. Best before dates Mar 19, 2020 through to Apr 24, 2020
- Woolworths – Bell Farms Steam Veggie Carrot Corn and Broccoli 3pk 450g – National distribution, all stock
- IGA – Black & Gold Corn Kernels 500g – National distribution. Best before all dates
- IGA – Black & Gold Mixed Vegetables 1kg: Carrots, peas, beans & corn – National distribution. Best before all dates
- Aldi – Market Fare Peas, Carrots and Super Sweet Corn 1kg – National distribution
- Aldi – Market Fare Corn Kernels 1kg QLD, VIC, WA and select NSW stores. Product of Hungary (only)
- Aldi – Market Fare Mixed Vegetables 1kg QLD, NSW, ACT, WA. Packed in Belgium from imported and Belgian ingredients (only)
- Aldi – Market Fare Quick Steam Carrot Broccoli and Cauliflower 450g – National distribution
- Aldi – Market Fare Quick Steam Carrot Corn and Broccoli 450g – National distribution
- Aldi – Only products with country of origin of Belgium, United Kingdom or Hungary. All other countries not affected
Listeria is a bacterial infection which can cause severe illness and death in some susceptible people.
The elderly, pregnant women and their unborn and newborn babies, and people with weakened immune systems, are most at risk.
Earlier this year a listeria outbreak linked to contaminated rockmelons claimed six lives in NSW and Victoria.
Recall follows deaths in the UK
FSANZ spokeswoman Lorraine Haase said there had not been any evidence of infections in Australia, but a number of people had died in the United Kingdom.
“This is a precautionary recall, to make sure people are aware and can remove products from their freezers,” she said.
The European Food Safety Authority said there had been 47 cases, including nine deaths, since an outbreak in Europe in 2015 linked to the affected vegetables.
The same strains of the bacteria had been detected in frozen vegetables produced by the same Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
This suggested the strains had persisted in the processing plant despite the cleaning and disinfection procedures that were carried out.
According to Food Standards Australia, the affected products should be either returned to supermarkets for a refund or thrown in the bin.