Food company Ready to Eat has announced a Listeria outbreak in several of their pre-packaged meals.
Ready to Eat, which produces ‘Muscle Fuel’ pre-made meals, said the meals affected are the ‘Vegetarian Chickpea and Pumpkin Rosti on Spinach Salad’ and the ‘Turkish Style Chicken & Rice’ with best before dates of August 4th, August 5th, August 6th, 2017.
Other meals are unaffected, the company says.
Any customers in possession of one of the affected meals are being urged to discard it immediately.
In a statement, Ready to Eat CEO Hamish Coulter said they were horrified when they received the news.
“To learn that one of our trusted produce suppliers has let us down is extremely disappointing.”
The Hamilton-based company was informed on Friday afternoon that its supplier Vegeez had returned a positive result for Listeria in one of its recent batches of cabbage.
On Friday evening the company contacted the 139 customers affected.
Vegeez general manager Glen Reid said it had taken full responsibility for the “very rare” event.
Mr Reid said in total there were 15 companies supplied with the affected cabbage, but all other companies managed to dump the product before using it.
Mr Coulter apologised to the company’s customers and said they were putting in measures to ensure this did not happen again.
The company has discontinued the use of coleslaw for the foreseeable future.
If any customer has consumed what they believe to be a contaminated meal they are advised to seek medical advice.
All customers will be contacted again this week with refunds issued.
I stumbled across an interested paper published in the Journal of Food Protection in February 2017 investigating the fate of Listeria monocytogenes , pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica , and Escherichia coli O157:H7 gfp+inoculated in low numbers into ready-to-eat baby spinach and mixed-ingredient salad (baby spinach with chicken meat).
A quick synopsis of the study showed that when mixed-ingredient salad was stored at 8°C during shelf life, only L. monocytogenes increased significantly, reaching 3.0 log CFU/g within 3 days. The 8°C reflects maximum refrigerator temperature storage in Sweden.
In plain baby spinach, only pathogenic Y. enterocolitica populations increased significantly during storage for 7 days, and this was exclusively at an abuse temperature (15°C). Thus, mixing ready-to-eat leafy vegetables with chicken meat strongly influenced levels of inoculated strains during storage.
The authors then translated the numbers into risks of infection. The risk of listeriosis (measured as probability of infection) was 16 times higher when consuming a mixed-ingredient salad stored at 8°C at the end of shelf life, or 200,000 times higher when stored at 15°C, compared with when consuming it on the day of inoculation. They conclude that efforts should focus on preventing temperature abuse during storage to mitigate the risk of listeriosis.
Söderqvist K1, Lambertz ST1,2, Vågsholm I1, Fernström LL1, Alsanius B3, Mogren L3, Boqvist S1. Fate of Listeria monocytogenes , Pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica , and Escherichia coli O157:H7 gfp+ in Ready-to-Eat Salad during Cold Storage: What Is the Risk to Consumers? J Food Prot. 2017 Feb;80(2):204-212. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-308.