Frozen corn likely source of ongoing Listeria monocytogenes outbreak
Frozen corn is the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes which has affected five EU Member States (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) since 2015. This is the conclusion of a rapid outbreak assessment published today by EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). As of 8 March 2018, 32 cases including six deaths have been reported.
Whole genome sequencing was used to define the multi-country outbreak of L. monocytogenes serogroup IVb, multi-locus sequence type 6 and to identify the implicated food source.
Investigations point towards frozen corn packed in Poland and processed and produced in Hungary. The report recommends further investigations to identify the exact point of contamination in the food chain.
Food business operators in Poland, Finland, Sweden and Estonia have withdrawn and recalled the implicated products. These measures are likely to reduce the risk of human infections in these countries.
However, new cases may be identified due to the long incubation period of listeriosis (up 22 to 70 days), the long shelf-life of frozen corn products and the potential consumption of frozen corn bought before the recall was implemented.
To reduce the risk of L. monocytogenes infection from frozen corn, consumers should adequately heat frozen vegetables that are not ready-to-eat products. This applies especially to consumers at the highest risk of contracting listeriosis – such as the elderly, pregnant women, new-borns and adults with weakened immune systems.
Listeriosis is a disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes. The disease primarily causes problems in pregnant women, newborns, and adults with a weakened immune system.Read more
Surveillance and disease data for listeriosis
Surveillance and disease data for listeriosisRead more
Rapid risk assessment: Multi-country outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes serogroup IVb, multi-locus sequence type 6, infections probably linked to frozen corn
22 Mar 2018 - An outbreak of invasive Listeria monocytogenes ( L. monocytogenes ) infections defined by whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and probably linked to frozen corn has been ongoing in five EU Member States (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom) since 2015. As of 8 March 2018, 32 cases have been reported and six patients have died due to or with the infection