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Listeria Monocytogenes linked to fresh enoki mushrooms imported from South Korea

(April 2020)

An outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes has been identified in the USA related to consumption of fresh enoki mushrooms imported from South Korea. The outbreak has resulted in recalls of enoki mushrooms imported from South Korea in Australia, the USA and Canada.

Korean authorities are working with enoki mushroom suppliers to ensure sanitary controls are being adhered to and that cooking instructions are declared on packaging. In Korea, enoki mushrooms are cooked and are not eaten raw, such as in salads.

Australian cases

Six Listeria monocytogenes cases notified in Australia have been identified by whole genome sequencing as being related to the USA outbreak strain. These cases were notified between October 2017 and March 2020, and the investigation is ongoing.

Listeria monocytogenes was detected in enoki mushrooms imported from South Korea and was recalled on 10 April 2020.

What is Listeria monocytogenes

Listeriosis is an illness usually caused by eating food contaminated by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria are widely distributed in the environment and can grow in food at refrigeration temperatures. Most people who are exposed to Listeria will only develop mild symptoms, though illness can be severe in those most at-risk. Those at increased risk of illness include pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies, the elderly, and people of all ages with immune systems weakened by illness or medication.

Consumers should ensure that food is handled, prepared and stored safely, and that those most at-risk of listeriosis should avoid certain foods. The best way to avoid Listeria is to eat freshly cooked or freshly prepared food. Enoki mushrooms should be cooked before being consumed.

What if I have bought the product?

Consumers are advised to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.

What if I have consumed the product?

Consumers concerned about their health should contact their GP.

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