In July 2018, Public Health England and Food Standards Agency  announced that an outbreak of listeriosis had been traced back to frozen sweetcorn.

Listeriosis is a rare but potentially serious infection. It is usually caught by eating food containing listeria bacteria.

There are 43 affected products which have now been recalled from UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Tesco and Iceland. A full list is available on the Food Standards Agency website.

Public Health England are reminding people that most frozen vegetables need to be cooked before eating. This is important even if adding them to salads or smoothies.

Whilst this outbreak has been found in frozen food, the bacteria which cause Listeriosis can be introduced into food before, during and after preparation. There are a few simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of becoming unwell. For example:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • Wash fruit and vegetables before eating them
  • Store ready-to-eat foods according to the guidance on the packaging
  • Make sure that all food is steaming hot all the way through before eating
  • Do not eat food after its use by date – even it looks and smells normal
  • Stayed informed on the difference between best before and use by

In most cases listeriosis is mild  and will usually pass within three days without the need for treatment. If you experience symptoms then you may be able to look after yourself at home until you are feeling better.

If you’re pregnant or have a weak immune system listeriosis can cause serious complications; you should seek expert advice by contacting your GP or the relevant out of hours’ service as soon as possible.

You should be given a same-day appointment if you think you have Listeriosis and:

  • you are pregnant
  • you have a condition that weakens your immune system (like diabetes)
  • you’re having treatment that weakens your immune system (like chemotherapy)
  • you think your baby might have Listeriosis

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