Bandar Seri Begawan - The Ministry of Health has recalled 21 brands of soft cheese products following a listeria outbreak in Australia, where the products are manufactured.
According to a press release, the recall is attributed to information received from the Department of Health and Ageing, Australia regarding an outbreak of listeria infection in their country.
Eighteen cases have been reported so far, including two deaths and one miscarriage. The cause of this outbreak has been linked to a number of soft cheese brands.
Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by consuming food contaminated with the listeria bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. Usually, the contaminated food is not spoilt and is often odourless.
Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The ministry explained that those who possess low immune systems, including young children and the elderly are more prone to catch a serious infection.
Due to the risk of miscarriage imposed by this infection, pregnant women are advised to avoid consuming soft cheese products over the course of their pregnancy.
The ministry has also identified the recalled soft cheese brands namely Aida Valley, Blue Cow, Coles Finest, Dynasty Emporium, Enterprize, G&K, Harris Farm, International, Jindi, Jindi Reserve, Kenilworth, Kingaroy, Old Telegraph Road, Raw Materials, Siena, Tomewin Farm, Tomme Farm, Top Paddock, Wattle Valley and Willow Grove.
Following this information, the ministry has advised importers and traders to recall all involved products and send them to the Food Safety and Quality Control Division at the Department of ,Health Services or to health offices nationwide to be destroyed.
They also advise consumers who currently possess any of the aforementioned products to return them to the respective shops or present them to the Food Safety and Quality Control Division or their districts' respective health offices.
As a safety measure, the ministry has also conducted checks on supermarkets and grocery stores to ensure that the recalled products including those that do not comply with the Public Safety Act on food and its regulations are not on the shelves.
As stated under Chapter 9 of the Health and Safety Act (Food) (Paragraph 182) anyone who prepares, sells or imports food that can detriment health can be imprisoned for up to five years or a fine or both.
More information can be obtained by contacting the Food Safety and Quality Control Division at the Department of Health Services by phone at 2331105.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin