Food authority to inspect other fish factories following listeria deaths

Source: Merilin Pärli/ERR

Following listeria bacteria being traced back to the M.V. Wool fish factory just outside Tallinn, the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA) is inspecting other fish packing and processing plants, Baltic News Service reports.

Olev Kalda, VTA deputy director general, said that inspectors would take samples from locations in Estonia, including on Saaremaa, and thoroughly check them for the bacterium Listeria Monocytogenes, according to daily Saarte Hääl.

An outbreak of listeriosis  in 2018 affected nine people in Estonia, two of whom died, as well as 26 futher infections and 6 fatalities in other European countries.

As reported by ETV consumer affairs show Pealtnägija, the bacteria was traced to the M.V. Wool plant at Harku, just west of Tallinn, though M.V.Wool owner and board chairman Mati Vetevool denied the bacteria originated at his plant, saying that 600 samples tkan from its produce met the required standards and that Finnish and Norwegian fish farms which sourced the fish being processed were to blame.

Should the tests prove positive for Listeria bacteria as a whole, futher analysis will see if the particular Listeria Monocytogenes is present.

Saarte Hääl is based on Saaremaa so asked about its fish factories in particular; Kalda said that they were in the clear.

"Based on existing information, the fish packing and processing plants on Saaremaa are not connected with the bacterial strain in question," Kalda told the paper.

Listeriosis is a serious transmissible disease caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which is especially dangerous to pregnant people, newborns, the elderly and others with a compromised or weak immune system.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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