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Hungarian authorities did not improve controls after Listeria outbreak

Authorities in Hungary have not acted to strengthen the system of official controls for food businesses despite a deadly multi-country Listeria outbreak, according to DG Sante in Europe.

The agency, which is responsible for the European Commission’s policy on food safety and health, found the system is not sufficient to verify food of non-animal origin (FNAO) is produced under conditions which comply with regulation No 852/2004 to prevent contamination with pathogens.

Official controls and enforcement would not help prevent further Listeria monocytogenes contamination in frozen FNAO, or limit the risk of non-compliant products being placed on the market, according to an audit report.

Greenyard’s frozen vegetable factory in Baju, Hungary, was the source of a Listeria outbreak in 2018 that sickened 54 people in six countries, killing 10 of them. The outbreak is thought to have started in 2015. Implicated frozen products were distributed to 116 countries. Greenyard incurred a cost of €25.7 million ($28.5 million) related to the recall and destruction of frozen vegetables. In June this year, Greenyard sold the plant to Roger & Roger, a producer of potato and corn snacks.

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