Greenyard Comments on Listeria Contamination and Victims

Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium-headquartered Greenyard has responded to a number of articles that have appeared in the press regarding a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in Europe and precautionary measures that have been taken in addition to its frozen vegetable recall initiative.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported that a specific strain of the Listeria bacteria identified in 47 cases that included nine reported deaths was found through highly advanced “Whole Genome Sequencing.” The same strains of L. monocytogenes have been detected in frozen vegetables produced at a Greenyard factory in Hungary that include corn, peas, beans, spinach and sorrel.

“Further investigation on the causal medical link between these cases and the contamination in the production facility is required,” according to a press release issued by the company on July 13. “Nevertheless, Greenyard has taken all possible additional measures to ensure food safety. Greenyard is in constant conversations with the European Commission and authorities to further analyze the matter.”

The company’s stock price, which fell 9.52% to €11.40 on July 13, was down by 10.24% for the work week that began on July 9.

On June 29, the Hungarian Food Safety Authority issued a resolution to Greenyard Frozen Hungary Kft to stop all marketing and to recall from its customers and consumers all frozen products that had been produced in the Baja plant between the period of August 2016 and June 2018, based on potential Listeria contamination of frozen products that are not properly cooked.

“Immediately following the resolution, Greenyard has taken all possible additional measures to preserve food safety, among others recall of the products, closure of the Hungarian plant and additional tests and analyses. The recall is a precautionary measure and does not imply that recalled products are contaminated,” said the company’s statement.

It went on to advise consumers to properly prepare frozen products, stating: “When thoroughly heated for two minutes at 70°C, the potential risk of infection is eliminated.”

The press release added: “We are currently in contact with the relevant authorities to assess further information on this particular strain and we fully support any further research, as food safety and the health of consumers are obviously our number one priority.”

Greenyard expects to incur costs resulting from the recall action itself, as well as product loss and possible product liability damages. The company is insured for all of these contingencies.

For more information about the recall, visit www.frozenvegetables.net.