Woolworths had to issue a recall of a food product from their shelves, following a warning which was issued by the Hungarian Food Agency into the possible contamination of listeriosis into its frozen savoury rice mix.
The rice mix, which is produced at the Greenyard Factory in Hungary, was identified as having being infected with the listeriosis bacteria, but Woolworths says that the recall is simply “precautionary”, following the warning from the food agency.
“Following a worldwide product recall issued by the Hungarian Food Safety Agency, and purely as a precautionary measure, we are recalling our Woolworths Frozen Savoury Rice Mix product. The Woolworths product is sourced from Belgium and contains frozen sweetcorn sourced from the Greenyard Factory in Hungary. This Greenyard Factory has been implicated as the potential source of a Listeria outbreak in Europe,” Woolworths said on Tuesday.
The recall was announced on July 4 by the Belgium based vegetables supplier, according to a report by Just-Food.com.
“Products involved include frozen corn, peas, beans, spinach and sorrel. Greenyard insisted the recall does not imply the foods ‘are actually contaminated’ but the company has stopped production at the site. The company said the products were made at its factory in Baja between August 13 2016 and June 20 2018,” the report said.
Products from Greenyard are shipped to 14 countries, including South Africa and the United Kingdom. According to the European Food Safety Authority, frozen corn “and possibly other frozen vegetables” are “the likely source” of listeria monocytogenes that has been affecting five countries – Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the UK – since 2015.”
In 2017 South Africa was hit by the largest listeriosis outbreak, according to the World Health Organisation. Food production factories owned and operated by Enterprise Foods were later identified as the source of the outbreak, which saw its ready-to-eat meat product range being recalled.
“In South Africa, an outbreak of listeriosis, a serious foodborne disease, has been ongoing since the start of 2017. Between 1 January 2017 through 14 March 2018, 978 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases from all provinces,” the World Health Organisation said in March this year.
Listeria is not a new phenomenon, however, with cases reported as far back as 1998, when in Canada, 21 cases of listeriosis were traced back to the consumption of Camembert cheese, which led to two women suffering miscarriages as a result of their infections.