Tip of the Week

Listeria monocytogenes: update on foodborne outbreak

The Food Standards Agency has issued the following information on the current food poisoning outbreak caused by frozen sweetcorn and other frozen vegetables

Frozen corn and possibly other frozen vegetables are the likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes in the UK and across Europe.

It is essential that defrosted frozen sweetcorn or vegetables are not eaten without cooking (ie. do not add to salads or sandwiches unless cooked first).

As of  June 2018, 47 cases including nine deaths have been reported.

Frozen sweetcorn is the likely source of an ongoing outbreak of listeriosis affecting five European countries including the United Kingdom.

Listeriosis is a rare but serious foodborne illness caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes that can be more serious for those individuals who have weakened immune systems and also the elderly, pregnant women and infants.

The Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland are reminding people that most frozen vegetables, including sweetcorn, need to be cooked before eating. This includes if adding them to salads, smoothies or dips.


People should always follow manufacturers’ instructions when preparing their food. If the product is not labelled as “ready to eat”, the cooking instructions should always be followed before eating the food hot or cold.

Weekly Food Fact

The clue’s sort of in the name – sweet corn tastes sweet, so you’d think it was full of sugar. But apparently, an ear of corn has about the same number of calories as an apple and less than a quarter the sugar.