NEWS
11/07/2018 06:35 SAST | Updated 11/07/2018 06:35 SAST

Woolworths Recalls Frozen Rice Mix Amid European Listeriosis Outbreak

The sweetcorn in a Woolworths savoury rice product is from a Hungarian plant, believed to be the source of a European listeriosis outbreak.

Rogan Ward / Reuters

Woolworths has withdrawn from its shelves a savoury rice mix following a global recall of one of the Hungarian products in it, Eyewitness News (EWN) reported. Hungary's Greenyard Factory, which reportedly produces the sweetcorn used in the rice mix, has been found to be a potential source of a listeria outbreak in Europe.

Woolworths reportedly said the recall is a voluntary one and customers will receive a refund. Woolworths said it regards food safety as "of critical importance".

"Following a worldwide product recall issued by the Hungarian Food Safety Agency, and purely as a precautionary measure, we are recalling our Woolworths Frozen Savoury Rice Mix product," the company reportedly said.

According to Business Insider, this is the only Woolworths product believed to be affected. Woolworths reportedly said it has proactive measures in place to prevent any microbial contamination of food.

The food chain reportedly said its food products are independently tested at random. No listeria was found in the product in South Africa, Woolworths said, and the recall was a precautionary measure.

Business Day reported that similar recalls have been made in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. A listeria outbreak has hit five countries in the last three years – Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the U.K.

Frozen sweetcorn and possibly other frozen vegetables are believed to be the cause of the outbreak, the European Food Safety Authority reportedly said.

At least 200 people in South Africa have died since January 2017, with at least 1024 cases of Listeriosis reported. The outbreak was traced to an Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane leading to a recall of its cold meat and polony products.