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Company recalls Meals on Wheels products found with traces of listeria

ABC News logo ABC News 25/09/2019 Melinda James and Ainslie Drewitt-Smith
a close up of a newspaper: These eight meals produced by the Flagstaff Group, sold through the Meals on Wheels, have been recalled after traces of listeria were found. (Supplied: The Flagstaff Group) © Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation These eight meals produced by the Flagstaff Group, sold through the Meals on Wheels, have been recalled after traces of listeria were found. (Supplied: The Flagstaff Group)

A company that provides frozen food to Meals on Wheels across four states is recalling thousands of its products due to listeria contamination.

Routine testing revealed low counts of the bacteria in meals sold by the Flagstaff Group in New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland and South Australia.

Chief executive of the Wollongong-headquartered company Roy Rogers said the recall is a precaution and there have been no reported illnesses.

"A listeria count came in some routine testing and as soon as we saw that, the NSW Food Authority was notified," Mr Rogers said.

"This is a step we voluntarily took as a precaution to let people know that there is potential listeria present in the product.

"We know the population that we service is vulnerable so the last thing that we want is anybody getting ill."

Recall 'overly cautious'

Listeria may cause illness in pregnant women and their unborn babies, the elderly and people with low immune systems.

Mr Rogers said the company's frozen products are primarily purchased by Meals on Wheels' customers and it was likely more than 6,000 meals were affected.

Flagstaff Group CEO Roy Rogers says there have been no illnesses reported after traces of listeria were found in some of the company's frozen meals. © Supplied: Flagstaff Group Flagstaff Group CEO Roy Rogers says there have been no illnesses reported after traces of listeria were found in some of the company's frozen meals.

"If the product is cooked and the label instructions are followed then that becomes the kill step for any listeria and the product is safe to eat," he said.

"But we took an overly cautious position and had this precautionary recall.

"The authority came and checked our facility and it's been totally cleaned and we've got a clear bill of health."

Mr Rogers said customers will be provided a full refund or replacement meal.

"We've sent that data to those distributors and they can bring the product back to those distributors and they'll destroy the product," Mr Rogers said.

Refunds available

A recall has been issued after traces of listeria found in Meals on Wheels food, affecting more than 6,000 meals. © ABC News: Nance Haxton A recall has been issued after traces of listeria found in Meals on Wheels food, affecting more than 6,000 meals.

Chief executive of Meals on Wheels Les MacDonald said he was aware of the contamination and was working with clients to mitigate illness.

"We are aware of a recall of some frozen meals from one of our suppliers and would like to reassure our clients that the recall is precautionary," Mr MacDonald said.

"We have a plan in place to help facilitate the return of affected meals, so please reach out to your local Meals on Wheels if you require assistance in doing this.

"We strongly encourage anyone who is concerned to contact Flagstaff or their local Meals on Wheels provider."

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