Ready To Eat/Muscle Fuel Health Warning
Ready to Eat is a Hamilton based food production and distribution company that specialises in Pre-made meals distributed nationwide.
The meals exclusively use fresh locally sourced produce from Hawkes bay company Vegeez, one of NZ’s largest and longest running food processors who also supply the Australian and Asia Pacific markets.
At approximately 4:00pm on Friday the 28th of July, 2017, Ready to Eat were notified that their supplier Vegeez had returned a positive result for Listeria in one of their recent batches of Cabbage. This test was taken from the produce prior to it being sent to Ready to Eat. Upon receiving this news, Ready to Eat, producers of ‘Muscle Fuel’ pre-made meals, were immediately in contact with the Ministry of Primary Industries.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the batch of supplied cabbage in question could be narrowed down to being used in two different Muscle Fuel meals prepared over a 3-day period. The meals affected were 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. Any meals not fitting those criteria are deemed to be unaffected.
Once the criteria for meals affected had been determined, Ready to Eat staff began searching through all relevant orders to compile a list of affected Muscle Fuel customers.
Upon completion of this list, all 139 customers were called. While 85% of customers were reached, any that did not answer the call were left a voicemail and a follow up text message. Once all 139 calls had been made, an email to all 139 affected customers was sent again explaining the situation carefully. This email was sent at 9:46pm on Friday evening.
Ready to Eat CEO, Hamish Coulter, said this morning, “When we received the news late Friday we were horrified. We pride ourselves on supplying Kiwis with fresh and healthy meals, and to learn that one of our trusted produce suppliers has let us down is extremely disappointing. Our first and major concern is with our customers – our team worked late into the night on Friday to ensure all affected customers were notified fully of the situation at hand. We will continue to work closely with our customers, our staff and the ministry to guarantee that this matter is resolved as quickly as possible”.
Vegeez General Manager, Glen Reid, says Vegeez has taken “full responsibility” for this ‘very rare’ event. In total, there were 15 companies supplied with the affected cabbage, however, all other parties managed to dump the product before using it. Because of Muscle Fuel’s efforts to provide healthy meals using only the freshest produce, they were the only producer to have already used the cabbage.
Muscle Fuel are advising that any customers that are in possession of one of the affected meals discard of it/them immediately – do not consume. If a customer has already consumed what they feel is an affected meal, Muscle Fuel advises to seek medical advice if they begin to feel unwell over the coming days. All affected customers will be contacted again this week and refunds will be given.
Coulter added, “We can’t apologise enough to our loyal customers who have put their trust in us to provide them with healthy, fresh meals. We’re currently putting steadfast measures in place to ensure something like this cannot happen again.” Ready to Eat have immediately discontinued the use of coleslaw entirely, for the foreseeable future.