When following Slimming World, most of us rely on frozen vegetables as a quick and easy way to get some speed food into our daily diet. We wanted to pass on this disturbing news to ensure you are cooking your veg properly to reduce any risk of harm.
A European-wide warning has been issued following a bacteria outbreak in frozen food which has caused nine deaths, two of which were in the UK.
Five countries are affected, including the UK. The outbreak of listeriosis which is thought to have been caused by contaminated frozen sweetcorn.
Listeriosis is a rare, yet serious, food-borne illness caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.
It can be more serious for those individuals who have weakened immune systems. This includes the elderly, pregnant women and infants.
In a statement, the European Food Standards Authority said: “Experts used whole genome sequencing to identify the food source. This was initially thought to be limited to frozen corn.
“As of June 8, 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.
“The available information confirms the contamination at the Hungarian plant.
“However, further investigations, including thorough sampling and testing, are needed to identify the exact points of environmental contamination at the Hungarian plant.
“The same recommendation applies to other companies belonging to the same commercial group if environmental contamination is detected.
“On June 29, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products. This only applied to the products made by the affected plant between August 2016 and June 2018. They ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall.
“This last measure is likely to significantly reduce the risk of human infections and contain the outbreak. All freezing activity at the plant has been stopped.”
What is Listeriosis?
According to the NHS website listeriosis usually goes away on its own. However, it can cause serious problems if you’re pregnant or have a weak immune system.
Listeriosis is usually caught from eating food containing listeria bacteria.
You can get it from lots of types of food, but it’s mainly a problem with:
- Unpasteurised milk
- Dairy products made from unpasteurised milk
- Soft cheeses, like camembert and brie
- Chilled ready-to-eat foods, like pre-packed sandwiches, pâté and deli meats
These foods don’t always cause listeriosis. If you’ve eaten them recently, you don’t need to do anything, or be concerned, unless you get symptoms of the infection.
Listeriosis is contagious, so you can contract it from someone else who has it. Particularly if stringent hygiene routines are not maintained around food. You may also be at risk if you’ve recently had close contact with farm animals.
What are the symptoms of Listeriosis?
Listeriosis has no symptoms or only causes mild symptoms for a few days, such as:
- A high temperature of 38C or above
- Aches and pains
- Feeling sick or vomiting
What is the advice about this Listeriosis warning?
In a statement the Food Standards Agency said: “Most frozen vegetables, including sweetcorn, need to be cooked before eating.
“This includes if adding them to salads, smoothies or dips.
“People should always follow manufacturers’ instructions when preparing their food.
“If the product is not labelled as “ready to eat”, the cooking instructions should always be followed before eating the food hot or cold.”
Is Sweetcorn a Speed Food?
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Check which frozen vegetables are affected in the UK by clicking here.