A cheese manufacturer is recalling a range of products because of a potential risk of contamination with listeria.
But there is not yet any evidence of a link between the products at Geraldine business Talbot Forest Cheese and three listeria cases in Tauranga, one of which may have contributed to a woman's death.
Listeria, commonly found in the environment, can make people sick (listeriosis) if they consume contaminated food.
Infection can be serious for those with poor immunity and for pregnant women, Ministry for Primary Industries Director of Compliance Gary Orr said.
"We've received unconfirmed test results indicating the presence of listeria in one of the products processed at the company's factory in Geraldine. The company recognises the potential risk and is working to have the product removed from shelves.
"We will be working with the company to ensure it is properly managing the future risk of product contamination by listeria."
Goodman Fielder is recalling specific dates of specific cheese products from the Puhoi Valley, Ornelle, and Bouton D'Or brands due to the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes:
Talbot Forest Cheese brand cheese products:
Name of product (size):
Bouton D'Or Haloumi (180g)
Ornelle Halloumi (1kg)
Puhoi Herit Creamy Havarti (1.25kg)
Puhoi Windy Peak Gouda (1.2kg)
Puhoi Summit Trail Gruyere (1.25kg)
Puhoi Valley Cumin Gouda (150g)
Puhoi Aged Smoked Cheddar (125g)
Puhoi Valley Gruyere (150g)
Puhoi Valley Smokey Gouda (70g)
Puhoi Valley Creamy Blue (70g)
Puhoi Valley Peppered Havarti (70g)
For Ornelle brand and Bouton D'Or brand Haloumi: Best before dates between and including 26/05/2020 and 08/10/2020.
For other products listed in this notice: Best before dates between and including 22/11/2020 and 06/04/2021.
"If you have any of these products [listed below] in your fridge you should return them to the retailer or throw them out," Orr said.
He said the recalled products were available at retail outlets across New Zealand and none of the products had been exported.
More detail about the specific products affected will be published on the Ministry of Primary Industries website tonight.
Orr said the recalled products were available at retail outlets across New Zealand and none of the products had been exported.
"We are working with Toi Te Ora Public Health to identify the source of listeria for the three cases of listeriosis in Tauranga," he said.
Orr said while there was no evidence at this stage of a link between these products and the cases in Tauranga, it is a timely reminder for those more at risk of listeriosis.
This included pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies, people with weakened immune systems and elderly people and also what foods they should avoid.
These include uncooked, smoked or ready-to-eat fish or seafood ( including oysters, prawns, sashimi or sushi paté); hummus and tahini-based dips and spreads, and cold pre-cooked chicken processed meats.
Other foods to avoid included ham and all other chilled pre-cooked meat products (including chicken, salami and other fermented or dried sausages); pre-prepared, pre-packaged or stored salads (including fruit salads) and coleslaws raw (unpasteurised) milk and any food that contained unpasteurised milk soft-serve ice creams.
The Ministry said for anyone in an at-risk group, it was especially important to take a few simple food safety precautions:
• Avoid eating the high-risk foods listed above.
• Follow good food hygiene practices, such as washing and drying hands before preparing food and after handling or preparing raw foods.
• Eat freshly cooked or freshly prepared foods.
• Wash all raw fruit and vegetables very well before eating.
• Cook foods thoroughly.
• Refrigerate leftovers immediately, do not keep for more than 2 days and reheat to steaming hot before eating.
Orr said people not in the above risk groups could generally consume these food products safely.
However, if people do become infected they may experience "very mild diarrhoea" and flu-like symptoms, generally within a few days of eating Listeria-contaminated food.
For those in the high-risk groups, listeriosis typically has an incubation period of 2-3 weeks (or longer) before symptoms appear.
Anyone concerned about their health or believed they had been affected, should talk to their doctor.
For more information about Listeria and prevention visit the Ministry of Health website at www.health.govt.nz/listeria