Victorian listeria death linked to strain in recalled veges

A Victorian listeria death has been linked to a European strain of the disease which prompted this week’s recall of 10 frozen vegetable products across Australia.

The patient, who was also being treated for another serious illness, died earlier this year meaning Victoria’s health department has been unable to determine if they had consumed any of the frozen vegetable products.

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

The 10 products being recalled in Australia contain vegetables sourced via Belgium and Hungary and are being sold in major supermarkets including Woolworths, Aldi and IGA.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand has named 10 frozen vegetable products which pose a listeria risk.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) released the list of the products which included snap frozen vegetable mixes, corn kernels, quick-steam carrot, broccoli and cauliflower mixes and pea, carrot and sweet corn mixed.

Acting FSANZ chief executive Peter May said pregnant women, people whose immune systems were compromised (eg cancer patients) and elderly people were most at risk.

The recall, linked to a factory in Europe, prompted calls from local growers for shoppers to “buy Australian”.

AusVeg, the peak body for the Australian vegetable industry, said consumers had a “right to ask” how supermarkets assured overseas growers were complying with local standards and that local processes were maintained.