Rimi said that the repeat samples that came from the laboratory of the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) on Monday show that there is no listeria bacteria in the retailer's central kitchen.
The Listeria monocytogenes bacterium was found on an uncleaned surface on a work table of the salads department of its unit for the production of non-thermally-processed food two weeks ago.
On Friday, the retailer recalled all fresh salads as a precautionary measure and suspended the production of salads. The results of repeat samples that came from the laboratory on Monday did not show the existence of listeria bacteria in Rimi's central kitchen. Rimi will continue to make and sell fresh salads from Monday, the retailer said.
"After a thorough cleaning of the central kitchen, we first did a work surface test with a quick testing device, which showed by Sunday evening that there was no listeria present," Algis Murumaa, quality manager at Rimi, said. "The lab results that arrived today confirmed the same to us. The central kitchen is clean and the production of salads can continue," he added.
Murumaa said that it is still not known how the listeria bacterium could have ended up on the work surface of the salads department. "We have identified possible suspect raw materials that were processed on this table. We have sent the suspect raw materials to the lab as well as our own products that contained this raw material. We are expecting the results of the analyzes by the end of this week. As a precautionary measure, we also changed procurers from whom the potentially contaminated raw materials may have come from. We have requested additional information from all suppliers of the central kitchen," he added.
"The safety of our customers is of paramount importance to us and we have therefore chosen to act promptly and proactively," Murumaa said. "We once again apologize to our customers and will do our best to prevent such situations from happening again. We will be analyzing the cleanliness of our central kitchen even more frequently in the future, and thanks to the quick testing device we will be able to react quickly. We also thank the VTA for their comprehensive help," he added.
Editor: Helen Wright