M.V.Wool presents action plan on Listeria elimination

M.V.Wool's Harku plant.
M.V.Wool's Harku plant. Source: Merilin Pärli/ERR

Fish processing and packing company M.V.Wool has presented an action plan to eliminate Listeria bacteria traced to its plant.

M.V.Wool submitted the action plan to the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) on Nov. 13, in which it says it aims to completely eliminate traces of the ST1247 strain of Listeria, at its plant.

M.V.Wool also says that its product line reaching consumers are safe.

"We have an agreement with the VTA that a specific action plan will be determined after sequencing, that is identifying the strain of the samples taken from M.V.Wool's Harku plant on Oct. 23," an M.V.Wool press release quoting supervisory board chair Meelis Vetevool said, according to BNS.

"Until then, M.V. Wool will continue with regular cleaning and inspection of production to ensure food safety," Vetevool continued.

Vetevool added that the company is expecting a VTA visit to the Harku and Vihterpalu plants to personally check on the company's efforts.

"There have been no instances of Listeriosis caused by ST1247 this year. This was affirmed by representatives of both the Health Board (Terviseamet) and the VTA at a round table meeting on food safety held at the Ministry of Rural Affairs on Oct. 29," Vetevool continued, claiming that there is currently no real threat to human health and life that could be caused by ST1247.

As reported on ERR News, the VTA once again found traces of Listeria bacteria from samples taken at the plant, and the authority is considering an injunction which would close the plant in question.

Vetevool said that the latest Listeria bacteria originates from raw material imported from Finland.

"The bacterium found in the samples taken on Oct. 23 is from raw material that came from Finland; this was also affirmed by samples taken by the Health Board. The samples taken immediately after the cleaning of the plant did not indicate the occurrence of Listeria bacteria, but there was Listeria bacteria in the samples taken by the VTA during the processing of raw material that came from Finland two days later," he said.

M.W.Wool halted production for two days in mid-October, to carry out sterilization of premises and production lines.

"After the sterilization, on Oct. 21 we launched production, let the equipment run on empty for 20 minutes and took samples. None of the four samples showed traces of Listeria, but the samples taken by the VTA on Oct. 23 did show the occurrence of listeria bacteria," Vetevool said, adding that the samples taken have not been sequenced, and it is not yet known which strain of bacteria has been found.

Vetevool added that there have been 15 instances of Listeriosis in Estonia this year, none with the strain found at M.V.

The company says it has imposed a zero tolerance policy on Listeria bacteria in products leaving its plants, and also reduced the expiration date of its cold smoked and salted products from 30 to 24 days.

Earlier traces of Listeria bacteria linked to M.V.Wool allegedly led to 28 people falling ill with Listeriosis last year, with the Danish veterinary authority accusing M. V. Wool products of causing the Listeriosis outbreak that started three years ago, and linked with the deaths of two people in Estonia and several more Europe-wide.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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