Supermarkets recall frozen vegetables over contamination fears

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The products - details of which can be found at http://www.foodstandards.gov.au - should be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund or binned. "We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause".

Woolworths has withdrawn a Frozen Savoury Rice Mix following a worldwide product recall issued by the Hungarian food safety agency.

Listeriosis is an illness usually caused by eating food contaminated by bacteria which can grow in food at refrigeration temperatures, the department said.

Early symptoms include fever, headaches, tiredness and aches and pains.

It can cause food poisoning that can be serious or even life-threatening in pregnant women, the elderly and people whose immune systems are weak.

Any consumers who have eaten the products and feel unwell are advised to see a health professional.

She said: "The best way to prevent listeriosis is to practise good food hygiene".

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Woolies said other frozen sweetcorn or vegetable products were unaffected.

"Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source, which initially was thought to be limited to frozen corn". Contaminated sweetcorn has so far been linked to 47 cases of illness across Europe, with nine deaths reported. The same strain of listeria was detected there 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", according to the EFSA.

New Zealand businesses that have had reported cases of the bacteria include a raw milk business in Southland, which was closed in September past year after batches of the milk tested positive for listeria. In pregnant women, listeria can lead to miscarriage, infection of the newborn, or stillbirth. The company operates in 27 countries.

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.

The NSW Government's Food Authority confirmed the recall in a statement this afternoon.

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