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Listeria risk in frozen vegetables prompts Finnish shops to pull products

Finland's supermarkets have withdrawn frozen bags of sweet corn and pea-corn-red bell pepper mix, after the bacterium Listeria was discovered in the products' Hungarian production plant.

Image: S-ryhmä

A Listeria scare affecting frozen vegetables, frozen sweet corn kernels in particular, has caused suppliers in several countries throughout Europe to recall their products. Stores in the Kesko and S Group chains in Finland pulled several frozen products from their shelves on Friday, while the Lidl chain of food stores did the same the previous day.

Food contaminated with the bacteria can cause Listeriosis, which can lead to serious illness in pregnant women, newborns, adults with weakened immune systems and the elderly.

The Kesko Group that owns Finland's chain of K stores says the bacteria has been traced to two of its Menu-brand products: a two and a half kilo bag of frozen sweet corn and a bag of a mix of frozen peas, corn and red bell pepper. The country of origin listed on the bags is Hungary, and the recall concerns all of the bags with a 'best before' date between 21 September 2018 and 7 May 2020. Kesko advises customers not to use the product and return the bags to any of its K or Kespro stores for a full refund.

The S Group also pulled its 450-gram bag of Rainbow-brand frozen sweet corn that reads 'Makea maissi', and likewise encourages customers to return any bags they may have purchased to the point of sale or S Group Customer Service.

The Lidl chain pulled its 450-gram bags of Freshona Mixed Vegetables pea-corn-red bell pepper mix and Freshona Sweetcorn Extra Sweet frozen products from the market already on Thursday

An S Group press release published yesterday tells customers who might be concerned about having already eaten the product that cooking the vegetables kills the bacteria, so a risk applies only if the product was consumed without first heating it.

Health authorities in the UK, where 43 products have been recalled due to the Listeria risk, say that all frozen vegetables should be cooked thoroughly before eating, including those that will be added to salads, smoothies and dips.

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