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Ministry Of Health Listeria Warning

17 February 2000

DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HEALTH PRIVILEGED STATEMENT UNDER SECTION 37 OF THE FOOD ACT 1981

Director General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi, today warned that pregnant women, the elderly, young children and people with low immunity should avoid foods at greater risk of listeria. This follows a nationwide recall of Fraser's brand of corned beef (silverside) manufactured by Mainland Products Ltd (Oamaru Division).

Samples of Fraser's corned beef were found to contain the bacteria which could cause listeriosis.

Dr Poutasi said that infection with listeria was particularly dangerous for pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with low immunity.

Public Health Services are continuing investigation to identify the source of contamination involved in the latest recall. Mainland Products Ltd (Oamaru Division) advise that further information can be obtained by calling their free phone number 0508 642 652.

General Information on managing the risks of Listeria:

After being infected with listeria, people may have no symptoms or they may become ill with a mild influenza-like illness with mild fever, headache and aches and pains. However, the illness may prove fatal, especially for the unborn child.

Foods at greater risk of contamination by Listeria monocytogenes include: pre-cooked chicken, ham and other chilled pre-cooked meat products pate chilled pre-cooked seafood products; unless eaten hot uncooked seafoods stored salads and coleslaws raw (unpasteurised) milk.

Those at risk can reduce the likelihood of harm by: safe food handling cooking food until it is piping hot, especially when using microwave ovens eating freshly cooked food thoroughly washing raw fruit and vegetables reheating cooked food which has been stored in the fridge so that it is piping hot.

Foods should be eaten as soon as possible after cooking. Reheated foods should be heated to above 70 degrees Celcius (piping hot).

Dr Poutasi said anyone in these high risk groups who feel they have experienced ill health from eating foods at greater risk of contamination should seek medical advice.

signed by Dr Karen Poutasi, Director-General of Health

For more information contact: Rebecca Wilson, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2067, pager: 025-495-989 Internet address: www.moh.govt.nz/media.html


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