Rimi recalls all salad products over Listeria fears

A Rimi supermarket.
A Rimi supermarket. Source: Rimi

Supermarket Rimi is recalling all of its fresh salad products as a precautionary measure following the discovery of Listeria monocytogenes at a production facility, Baltic News Service reports.

The Listeria bacteria were discovered on an uncleaned work service at the supermarket's non-thermally processed food production unit, though samples taken from the site are being tested, with results due on Monday, according to BNS.

"We are talking about a work surface that came in touch with the materials used for the production of salad," Rimi quality manager Algis Murumaa said.

"We have also sent the raw materials under suspicion for testing - these responses will arrive over the course of next week. Suppliers, as well as the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) have been notified of the find, and they have launched an inquiry into the products and raw materials."

Murumaa, added that it is not known yet whether the bacteria is present above and beyond permitted limits, or even at all. 

"Let me remind [people] that in a safe quantity listeria is not detrimental to health and does not occur in products thermally processed to an appropriate degree," Murumaa said.

Rimi is also sterilizing its central kitchens from midnight on Friday through to Saturday evening, BNS reports, with no fresh salad products to be released before confirmation that both facilities and raw materials have undergone the process.

The supermarket says it has also installed an express testing device enabling it to analyze samples taken from work surfaces round the clock and providing an answer within 24 hours. 

"We are working closely with the VTA and their officials are helping us also with the case in question. We have taken an approach of absolute seriousness to the situation and are applying all measures to prevent such cases in the future.

While the VTA has not given us any orders to recall any products, we are nevertheless doing it as a precaution," Murumaa added.

The news comes a day after reports that a supplier to Estonian supermarket Selver had ceased doing business with Oskari Lihatööstus meat processing plant, following allegations of Listeria monocytogenes found in their raw materials.

Fish processing plant M.V.Wool was ordered to close its two plants following repeated Listeria bacteria detection. ST1247 strains in M.V.Wool products have been linked with two deaths in Estonia last year, and several more Europe-wide.

Rimi itself has continued to carry M.V.Wool products, though another supermarket, Maxima, withdrew them from its shelves after the initial Listeria media reports in October.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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