A popular brand of shaved ham is being recalled for fears it may contain listeria.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirmed the recall of Beehive Shaved Champagne Ham about 4pm this afternoon.
It tweeted a picture of it and wrote: "#FoodRecall - #Beehive are recalling their Shaved #ChampagneHam - may contain #Listeria..."
A recall notice on the MPI Food Smart website said Premier Beehive NZ Ltd is recalling the 200g Family Pack of Beehive Shaved Champagne Ham because it may contain the genus of bacteria known as listeria.
"The affected product has been sold in 200g plastic packs at Countdown, New World, Pak'nSave and Fresh Choice outlets throughout the North Island," the notice said.
It has a use-by date of January 26, 2016 and its batch number is 335322.
Premier Beehive NZ general manager Dene McKay said the recall was a precautionary measure after tests found an issue in one of its batches.
"As part of our quality control, we conduct regular checks for listeria both on equipment and product samples," he said.
"The initial test came back negative - and on that basis, we obviously released the products. But only subsequent tests detected a problem with one of the batches."
Mr McKay said staff had retrieved the majority of the more than 13,000 ham packs involved. However, 131 packets remained outstanding.
Several readers have contacted the Herald expressing their fears after eating the potentially contaminated ham.
Jenna Carter, of Auckland, said her family regularly bought the product from the New World supermarket in Stonefields, Mt Wellington.
She had a 1-year-old and 3-year-old and had panicked when she saw the news.
"We only finished the packet over the weekend so have binned the packaging - so unable to check the batch [number] and use-by date."
Ms Carter said she was highly concerned for her children and wanted to let other concerned mothers know as well.
"I will never buy Beehive again. What is going on in NZ, where we can't trust the food we purchase?"
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) website, listeria is a foodborne bacteria which can make you sick.
It says infection with listeria bacteria is called listeriosis.
While listeriosis usually causes few or no symptoms in healthy adults and children, some people are at risk of severe disease from it.
It says these people include pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies, people with weakened immune systems - including cancer patients, diabetics, people taking immunosuppressive treatments, people with liver or kidney disease - and frail older people.
"Listeriosis is particularly dangerous for pregnant women," the MoH says. "It can cause miscarriage, premature labour or stillbirth, and can cause infection in their baby."
Ham is one of the listed items under the listeria section on the MoH website that is said to be unsafe for people at risk of severe infection.
It lists the listeriosis symptoms as: mild fever, headache, aches and pains, feeling sick or nauseous, vomiting or diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
"Some people get very sick with listeriosis," it says. "It can cause fever, meningitis, delirium and coma. In some cases, it can be fatal."
On the MPI recall notice it said the recall does not affect any other Premier Beehive NZ Limited product.
The product is also not exported.
MPI said it should not be eaten and customers are urged to return it to their retailer for a full refund.
While there have been no reports of illness, MPI said anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice.
Foodstuffs says it has removed the ham product from the shelves of a number of New World and Pak'nSave supermarkets in the lower North Island today.
Foodstuffs spokeswoman Antoinette Laird said: "Foodstuffs North Island is following normal recall procedures and is working with the supplier.
"We are aware that this recall has affected several New World and Pak'nSave stores in the lower North Island - all of whom have been notified and the product has been removed from shelves."
A Countdown spokeswoman confirmed staff from Premier Beehive visited its stores to remove the affected batch.
The affected batch was available in 15 Countdown stores:
• Crofton Downs
• Fairy Springs
• Lower Hutt
• The Valley
• Upper Hutt
The recall also affected two FreshChoice supermarkets:
• Fresh Choice Half Moon Bay
• Fresh Choice Greytown.
"Customers who purchased this batch of product at these stores - with the expiry date 26 Jan 2016 and batch number 335322 - should check and return the product to us for a full refund," the spokeswoman said.
• For further information, the public can contact Premier Beehive NZ: 0800-506-701.