Several UK supermarkets have removed various frozen vegetable products from their shelves due to concerns about possible listeria contamination.
Aldi, Lidl, Iceland, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose have recalled frozen vegetable packages, including packets of sweetcorn and mixed vegetables, because they could contain Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), nine deaths have been attributed to an outbreak of listeria in several European countries since 2015:
Frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes that has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom since 2015.
Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source, which initially was thought to be limited to frozen corn. As of 8 June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths had been reported.
The same strains of L. monocytogenes have been detected in frozen vegetables produced by the same Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018. This suggests that the strains have persisted in the processing plant despite the cleaning and disinfection procedures that were carried out.
On 6 July 2018, the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued an alert about the voluntary recall of various frozen vegetable products from Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd:
Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd has taken the precautionary step of voluntarily recalling various frozen vegetable products because they might contain Listeria monocytogenes. Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd has provided an amended product list, detailed below.
Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd are recalling the [below[ products. Point of sale notices will be displayed in all retail stores that are selling these products. These notices explain to customers why the products are being recalled and tell them what to do if they have bought any of the products listed [below].
Pinguin frozen Sweetcorn
Pinguin Supersweet Sweetcorn
Tesco frozen Broccoli, Carrot and Sweetcorn Steamer
Tesco frozen Every Day Value Sweetcorn
Ross Mixed Vegetables
One Stop frozen Sweetcorn
Aldi Four Seasons frozen Vegetable Steamers
Aldi Frozen Four Seasons Mixed Vegetables
Aldi Four Seasons Supersweet Sweetcorn
Waitrose Essential Supersweet Sweetcorn
Waitrose Essential Mixed Vegetable
Tesco frozen Mixed Vegetables
Waitrose Fine Cut Vegetable Steamer
Waitrose Love Life Vegetable Medley Steamers
Sainsbury’s frozen Special Mixed Vegetables
Growers Pride Mixed Vegetables
Sainsbury’s frozen Basic Mixed Vegetables
Sainsbury’s frozen Rice Broccoli and Sweetcorn
Tesco Frozen Growers Harvest Carrot Peas and Sweetcorn Steamer
Tesco Frozen Growers Harvest Mixed Vegetables
According to the FSA, “the products listed above might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes” and urged consumers to return any packpages of such to the point of purchase:
Symptoms caused by this organism can be similar to flu and include high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.
Some people are more vulnerable to listeria infections, including those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn babies, babies less than one month old and people with weakened immune systems.
If you have bought any of the above products do not eat them. Instead, return the product to the store from where it was bought for a full refund.