The Director of Public Health, Dr Roscoe Taylor, today urged Tasmanians to carefully follow the instructions of state and national authorities about a recall of soft and semi-soft cheeses linked to serious illness across the country.
Dr Taylor said Victorian authorities reported that a further seven cases of the Listeria infection had been linked to batches of Jindi-manufactured cheeses sold at delis and supermarkets - a total of 18 cases related to the outbreak to date.
"Consumers who bought soft or semi-soft cheese products identified as Jindi in recent weeks should discard them, or return them to the place of purchase," Dr Taylor said.
"If you purchased a cut portion of camembert or brie from a supermarket or deli and are unsure of the brand, you should also discard it.
"Tasmania is included in the recall because the recalled products have been distributed here," Dr Taylor said.
The product recall extends to a range of products produced by Jindi but sold under a range of brands. More detailed information about the recalled products and brands is available from the Jindi Customer Helpline on 1800680175 and further information will be made available through Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.
Dr Taylor noted that a 44-year-old Tasmanian man who died from the infection last year was part of the national outbreak.
"While it is not clear what the man ate before becoming ill, the strain of his infection is the same as the one identified in the current outbreak," Dr Taylor said.
Dr Taylor said that Listeria infection is fairly rare, and will only cause minor symptoms in the vast majority of people.
"The number of cases of Listeriosis in Tasmania each year range from none to three. There were three cases notified in 2012.
"Those most at risk of serious illness are the elderly or people with conditions which affect their immune system. This includes people with cancer, transplants and serious kidney and liver disease.
"Pregnant women are also particularly at risk and the infection can sometimes be fatal to their unborn child," Dr Taylor said.
Advice on how to avoid Listeria
If you (or someone in your household) has a weakened immune system, or is pregnant, the best way to avoid Listeria is to eat freshly cooked or freshly prepared food.
Try to avoid foods which have a higher risk of Listeria contamination such as:
• Cold meats from delicatessen counters and sandwich bars, and packaged, sliced ready-to-eat meats
• Cold cooked ready- to-eat chicken (whole, portions, or diced)
• Pre-prepared or pre-packaged fruit or vegetable salads, including those from buffets and salad bars
• Chilled seafood such as raw oysters, sashimi and sushi, smoked ready-to-eat seafood and cooked ready-to-eat prawns
• Soft, semi-soft and surface-ripened cheeses such as brie, camembert, ricotta, blue and feta
• Refrigerated paté or meat spreads
• Soft serve ice cream
• Unpasteurised dairy products.
You can further reduce your risk of Listeriosis by following these food safety tips:
• Avoid foods that are past their best before or use by date
• Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 24 hours, or freeze
• Cook foods thoroughly
• Reheat foods until it is steaming hot
• Make safer food choices.
Advice about Listeriosis is available at the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand website at: www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/listeria/listeriabrochuretext.cfm
The list of recalled goods is available at: www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumerinformation/foodrecalls/jindicheeserecall.cfm
18 January 2013