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Listeria fears prompt recall of Matakana salmon products

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30 March 2024, 2:45 AM

Listeria fears prompt recall of Matakana salmon productsA batch of Matakana Smokehouse Citrus Gravlax and Kaffir Gravlax cured salmon has been recalled and should not be eaten, as they could pose a serious safety risk. Photo: Supplied/ NZ Food Safety

Two salmon products are being recalled over fears they could be contaminated with listeria bacteria, which can be especially dangerous to vulnerable groups and during pregnancy.

Matakana Smokehouse and Food Safety NZ issued the notice.

Listeria infections can be life-threatening and anyone at high risk should contact a doctor immediately if they think they have been infected, an online MPI webpage about listeria linked to in the recall notice said.

It is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, newborns, older people, and anyone with a weakened immune system, though the symptoms are usually mild in healthy adults who aren't vulnerable, it said.

The warning affects one batch of salmon, which is labelled for use by 10 April 2024.

This includes two different types of gravlax (cured salmon), in various sizes of packages.

It is known to have been sold at: the Stock Deli in Tutukaka, Northland; Omaha Superette, Auckland; and IE Produce in Barrys Point Road, Takapuna, the recall notice said, and was being removed from shop shelves.

The recalled products:

  • Matakana Smokehouse NZ brand Citrus Gravlax (variable sizes) - Use By 10-04-24
  • Matakana Smokehouse NZ brand Kaffir Gravlax (variable sizes) - Use By 10-04-24

Symptoms of listeria poisoning include diarrhoea, fever, muscle pain, headache, occasional abdominal cramps and vomiting, meningitis and blood poisoning.

Listeria infection can also cause miscarriage, premature labour or stillbirth, and infection in the new-born baby, which made it particularly dangerous for anyone who is pregnant, said New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) Deputy Director-General Vincent Arbuckle.

"This product should not be eaten. It can be returned to the place of purchase for a refund. Should you be unable to do this, throw it out," he said.

Arbuckle said unlike most other harmful bacteria, listeria can survive and grow at refrigerator temperatures.

Symptoms could occur within days, he said, or could take weeks to appear in more vulnerable people.

"If you have consumed any of these products and are concerned for your health, contact your health professional, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116."

The bacteria was discovered as a result of routine testing, NZ Food Safety said, and there had been notifications of associated illness.

"As is our usual practice, New Zealand Food Safety will be working with Matakana Smokehouse to understand how the contamination occurred and prevent its recurrence," Arbuckle said.

None of the recalled product had been exported.