Australia and NZ recall frozen vegetables over listeria fears

The affected products

Food scientists and food safety experts say a common misconception that it is safe to eat vegetables while they are still frozen has contributed to an Australia-wide product recall announced on Monday.

"Food safety is of critical importance to Woolworths and we take all issues regarding the production of our food extremely seriously".

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has revealed that a Victorian may have contracted listeria as a result of consuming the recently recalled frozen vegetables.

On 29 June 2018, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the affected plant between August 2016 and June 2018, and ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall.

Woolworths reportedly said the recall is a voluntary one and customers will receive a refund. A listeria outbreak has hit five countries in the last three years - Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom.

For a full list of the recalled frozen vegetables, see the list below.

Symptoms of listeria infection can include severe cramps, stomach pain, nausea, fever and headaches.

It is particularly risky for pregnant women and their unborn babies, and can cause death in people with compromised immune systems.

She adds the decision to recall the products is a precaution based on instructions of the European Union (EU).

She said: "The best way to prevent listeriosis is to practise good food hygiene". Listeria can invade the central nervous system and cause meningitis and even brain infection.

It said none of its other frozen sweetcorn or vegetable products is believed to be affected.

"We endorse the advice to cook frozen products until it has reached 70°C and stayed at that temperature for at least two minutes".

Listeria is a harmful bacteria that thrives in ready-to-eat foods that have already been cooked when purchased.

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