What is listeria and why are frozen products being recalled?

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Woolworths is recalling a frozen savoury rice product as a precaution after a listeria outbreak in Europe.

A person has died from a strain of listeria similar to one that triggered a recall of popular brands of frozen vegetables across Australia, but it is not possible to confirm a direct link to one of the products, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) says.

The factory is said to be implicated as a likely source of a Listeria outbreak in Europe.

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

More than a week ago, the Hungarian agency banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products made by the affected Hungarian plant and ordered their immediate withdrawal and recall.

So the Woolies uncooked savoury rice definitely had its market.

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

The food chain reportedly said its food products are independently tested at random. "Thorough cooking would ensure that the product is safe".

Listeria monocytogenes pose a major risk to pregnant women, the elderly and people with immune system problems.

Consumers should not consume this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

The products have been available for sale at Woolworths, Aldi, IGA, Campbells and independent grocery stores. It is most commonly found in raw foods such as fruit or vegetables.

The listeria bacteria can develop into the rare but serious listeriosis illness. "Also in pregnant women listeria can cause miscarriage, and if the baby is born it could have brain damage". The company operates in 27 countries.

"As a producer of frozen vegetable products, we recommend our customers to include cooking instructions on each packaging".

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