Woolies recalls frozen rice over Listeria fears

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The Woolworths product is sourced from Belgium and contains frozen sweetcorn sourced from the Greenyard Factory in Hungary.

The Frozen Savoury Rice Mix product is uncooked and frozen and so requires cooking before consumption.

A range of frozen vegetable packets sold at Woolworths, ALDI, IGA, Campbells and Independent grocery stores have been recalled, with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) warning that affected products contain a particularly risky strain of Listeria.

Listeriosis is a rare infection caused by the bacteria listeria.

"We are voluntarily recalling this product as a precautionary measure, on the global instruction of the Hungarian Food Safety Agency", Woolworths said in a statement dated July 10.

The NICD said in its latest listeriosis update that 1‚056 laboratory confirmed cases had been reported from 1 January 2017 to 29 June 2018 in South Africa.

The health department has been unable to determine if the patient had consumed any of the recalled frozen vegetable products.

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Foodborne bacteria such as listeria can be spread by cross-contamination, such as when raw and cooked foods are stored together.

Listeria may cause illness in pregnant women and their unborn babies, the elderly and people with low immune systems. Symptoms are similar to the flu and include a high fever, chills, feeling or being sick, and diarrhoea.

A Countdown frozen vegetable medley has been recalled over fears it could contain listeria.

And the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said listeria has been affecting Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom in recent years. It can lead to sepsis and meningitis (infection and inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain).

Woolies said other frozen sweetcorn or vegetable products were unaffected. "Thorough cooking would ensure that the product is safe".

Carstensen says the product has been tested and found to be compliant.

Australia's now mandatory CoOL labelling means that consumers will be easily able to identify frozen vegetables sourced from Europe, particularly Hungary or Belgium, and return to their place of purchase.