Paper: Listeria scandal hitting supermarket fish sales

M.V.Wool products in a supermarket.
M.V.Wool products in a supermarket. Source: ERR

The Listeria outbreak linked with an Estonian fish producer has hit sales of processed fish products in general, according to some of the major supermarkets.

Listeria bacteria traced to the M.V.Wool plant at Harku, west of Tallinn was first reported in late September. Despite M.V.Wool closing the plant for sterilization in mid-October, a second outbreak was reported a month later, leading to speculation the factory may have to close (M.V.Wool has a second plant, in Vihterpalu, close to Paldiski).

Listeria bacteria traced to the company's products have been linked with the deaths of two people in Estonia, and several more elsewhere in Europe.

According to daily Postimees, Estonian supermarket Selver says that its sales have diminished somewhat in the wake of the scandal, adding that this could be because it is carrying no major discounts on processed fish product lines at present.

Latvian-owned Rimi also reports lower turnover, saying that this could also be partly due to lower prices of such products, and adding that it has received confirmation from the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA), the authority responsible for checking M.V.Wool's premises and which detected the Listeria strains, that the company's products as supplied to the supermarket are safe, and that it will continue to stock them.

Coop says much the same thing, it has received assurances from the VTA and so unless anything changes it will continue to sell them.

The only exception is Maxima, the Lithuanian-owned supermarket which stopped supplying M.V.Wool cold smoked or salted, packaged trout and salmon in late September, when the story first broke.

Maxima says that nonetheless fish sales have fallen since September, though they have risen on year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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