Woolworths recalls savoury rice after listeria outbreak in Europe

The rice which has been recalled from Woolworths after a supplier was linked to a Listeria outbreak in Europe

Woolworths said the recall is purely a precautionary measure, on the global instruction of the Hungarian Food Safety Agency.

It is feared they contained the deadly listeria monocytogenes - with 47 people being affected since 2015, nine of which have died.

The retailer said none of its other frozen sweetcorn or vegetable products are affected.

In late June, the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned the marketing of all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the plant between August 2016 and June 2018, and ordered their immediate recall.

"We voluntarily withdrew one batch of the product on Friday from all our Countdown, SuperValue and FreshChoice stores and today we recalled all batches of it just to be on the safe side".

The outbreak was traced to Tiger Brands's Enterprise meat factory in Polokwane earlier in 2018 and is now the subject of a class action lawsuit launched by Richard Spoor Attorneys.

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In a statement, Woolworths said: "Food safety is of critical importance to Woolworths and we take all issues regarding the production of our food extremely seriously".

The factory supplies sweetcorn used in Woolworths' rice mix.

Listeria is a life-threatening illness for certain people, particularly those over the age of 60.

Consumers who have purchased any of the recalled products are being urged to throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Listeria is found widely in the environment, but is particularly unsafe for pregnant women and their unborn babies, and can cause death in people with compromised immune systems.

Experts say that new cases could also still emerge as the incubation period for listeriosis is up to 70 days. This involves either being treated with fluids through an IV drip or a course of antibiotics.

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