A person has died from a strain of listeria similar to one that triggered a recall of popular brands of frozen vegetables across Australia, but it is not possible to confirm a direct link to one of the products, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says.
The person died earlier this year and was being treated for another serious illness, so it is not possible to confirm if they had consumed any of the vegetables, the department said.
A number of frozen vegetable brands sold at Aldi, Woolworths and IGA stores were recalled from supermarkets across Australia over fears of potential contamination by the listeria bacteria.
The Victorian case was retrospectively linked to the strain in Europe that led to the recall. It had the same serotype and similar genetics.
The unidentified person’s family asked that no further details be released.
It is the first case in Australia linked to the vegetables.
The department said everyone should follow the recall advice issued on Monday by Food Safety Australia New Zealand.
Listeriosis is an illness caused by eating contaminated food and can grow in food at refrigeration temperatures.
It is uncommon but can be dangerous for pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
What is listeria?
- Listeria is a serious and sometimes fatal bacterial infection
- Symptoms can include fever, headaches, cramps, aches and pains, nausea and diarrhoea
- It can be fatal in newborns, elderly people and people with a weakened immune system
Some of the vegetables were imported from Europe, and the recall in Australia comes after products were removed from shelves in the United Kingdom over the same contamination fears.
About 20 per cent of frozen vegetables sold in Australia are from overseas.
The European Food Safety Authority said there had been 47 cases including nine deaths since an outbreak in Europe in 2015 linked to the affected vegetables.
The same strains of the bacteria had been detected in frozen vegetables produced by the same Hungarian company in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The following products sold in Australia have been included in the recall:
- Woolworths – Essentials snap frozen mixed veg 1kg: Carrots, peas, corn, green beans & potatoes – National distribution. Best before dates 19 MAR 2020 through to 24 APR 2020
- Woolworths – Bell Farms Steam Veggie Carrot Corn and Broccoli 3pk 450g – National distribution, all stock
- IGA – Black & Gold Corn Kernels 500g – National distribution. Best before all dates
- IGA – Black & Gold Mixed Vegetables 1kg: Carrots, peas, beans & corn – National distribution. Best before all dates
- ALDI – Market Fare Peas, Carrots and Super Sweet Corn 1kg – National distribution
- ALDI – Market Fare Corn Kernels 1kg QLD, VIC, WA and select NSW stores. Product of Hungary (only)
- ALDI – Market Fare Mixed Vegetables 1kg QLD, NSW, ACT, WA. Packed in Belgium from imported and Belgian ingredients (only)
- ALDI – Market Fare Quick Steam Carrot Broccoli and Cauliflower 450g – National distribution
- ALDI – Market Fare Quick Steam Carrot Corn and Broccoli 450g – National distribution
- ALDI – Only products with country of origin of Belgium, United Kingdom or Hungary. All other countries not affected.