Greenyard reports US$35 million listeria-related product recall impact

BELGIUM – Belgian food company, Greenyard has reported that the first estimate on the financial impact from its recall of frozen products, potentially linked to an outbreak of the food-borne disease listeria in Europe, was estimated at US$35 million after insurance.

According to Reuters, the company’s shares have fallen 38 percent since local media reports said that deaths due to a listeria outbreak could be linked to frozen vegetable products produced by Greenyard’s plant in Hungary.

The reports of nine deaths were caused by a listeria infection in frozen foods which allegedly started in a Hungarian plant of NWS.

The products involved included frozen corn, peas, beans, spinach and sorrel.

The company ended up in the eye of the storm after a link was being established between Greenyard and nine listeria deaths across Europe by the press.

Shares at the stock market plunged, with trade being suspended after the shares had lost almost 10 percent.

In Belgium, Greenyard products were taken from the shelves in a number of stores including Delhaize and Colruyt.

Greenyard advised members of the public to cook the products, in order to eliminate the risks, and that it was enough to heat the product to 70 Celsius for two minutes to kill the potential listeria bacteria.

The nine deaths were reported in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Austria.

The plant has been shut and the company has been conducting an in-depth review after the Hungarian Food Chain Safety Office banned all frozen vegetable and frozen mixed vegetable products produced by the facility on June 29.

Berenberg analysts said that food safety is the biggest risk for a food company, and “this is the latest in a string of disappointing newsflow relating to Greenyard.”

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