Sweetcorn suspected of causing listeria outbreak responsible for one death in Denmark

A number of countries in Europe have been hit by an outbreak of the potentially-fatal listeria bacteria

The Fødevarestyrelsen veterinary and food administration has put out warnings regarding batches of frozen sweetcorn from Hungary.

The sweetcorn is suspected of being the cause of a listeria outbreak that has hit a number of European countries.

So far 47 people have been infected with nine of them subsequently dying in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the UK.

Four people have been infected in Denmark and one of them has since died.

Fødevarestyrelsen is sure that the four Danes were infected from the same source, but has been unable to pinpoint it precisely.

Maybe not only frozen corn
In a press release, the European food safety authority EFSA indicated that sweetcorn from one particular Hungarian plant might be the culprit, although other frozen vegetable products from the same firm could also contain the listeria bacteria.

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As a result, two days ago the Coop chain decided to withdraw packets of ‘extra sweetcorn’ (Ekstra Søde Majs) made by the Hungarian producers Greenyard Frozen Hungary Kft and Pinguin Foods Hungary Kft.

Yesterday, Lidl’s supermarkets followed suit by withdrawing a similar ‘extra sweetcorn’ product.

Anyone in possession of the products made between August 2016 and November 2017 inclusive is advised to return them to the shop where they bought them or dispose of them.

Cook it thoroughly
New cases could still emerge due to the long incubation period of listeriosis (up to 70 days) and the long shelf-life of frozen corn products.

Consumers are advised to thoroughly cook non ready-to-eat frozen vegetables, even though these products are commonly consumed without cooking (e.g in salads and smoothies).

This applies especially to consumers at highest risk of contracting listeriosis – such as the elderly, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.