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Australian-grown vegetables completely safe amid international recallAustralia's peak vegetable body says consumers can have the confidence in country of origin labelling, following the recall of frozen vegetable products this week, due to fears of a potential contamination by the deadly listeria bacteria.
Greenyard Frozen Belgium NV is recalling 9 products that could contain microbial (Listeria monocytogenes) contamination, which have been available for sale at Woolworths, ALDI and IGA, Campbells and Independent grocery stores.
AUSVEG is reminding consumers that it of has only affected some frozen vegetable products and that all affected products have been removed from supermarket shelves.
"All of the recalled products were imported from Hungary and Belgium, so consumers can have confidence that the local fresh and frozen vegetable products available on supermarket shelves are safe and of the highest quality," AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside said. "The Australian vegetable industry’s biggest concern is consumer safety. Australia has a well-earned reputation for clean, green and safe produce, which has been built on the back of our extremely strong food safety system and the stringent regulations that underpin it."
Photo: recalled frozen vegetable products (source: Food Standards Australia New Zealand)
He adds, new mandatory labelling laws that came into full effect from July this year, which also give consumers clearer information about where their food comes from.
"The new country of origin labelling system that’s recently come into effect has been a welcome step forward in helping consumers identify Australian-grown produce, which helps them to make informed decisions, especially when there are concerns about imported products that could shake consumer confidence," Mr Whiteside said. "So consumers can more easily identify if a food product is grown in Australia, which has some of the world’s most stringent food safety protocols. We encourage Australian consumers to continue to support local growers by buying locally-grown fresh and frozen vegetables. Our industry’s number one priority is the safety of consumers."
Consumers who have any of the recalled products at home are urged to discard the product or return it for a full refund. If anyone is concerned for their health they should seek medical advice, particularly pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. But Mr Whiteside says the current measures that are in place, are sufficient for the current situation.
"AUSVEG is monitoring the situation and if we believe that any further measures should be put in place, we’ll raise those concerns through the appropriate channels," he said. "Right now, our focus is on ensuring consumers understand they can have confidence in Australian produce and encouraging them to support our growers."
For more information on the recall: www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/foodrecalls/recalls/Pages/Frozen-Vegetables-.aspx
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