Tuesday 17 October 2017

Greencore shares slump after listeria find prompts recall

Greencore’s Patrick Coveney
Greencore’s Patrick Coveney
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Greencore shares plunged 6pc in early trading yesterday after it said it was voluntarily recalling egg salad sandwiches, ham salad sandwiches, and seafood stuffing from US customers as a food safety precaution.

It followed listeria monocytogenes being found in environmental sampling conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at a Greencore plant. "No finished products have been found to have listeria present and no confirmed illnesses have been reported," the FDA said.

A Greencore spokesperson said that the recall was "a purely precautionary measure, as no finished products have been found to have listeria present and no confirmed illnesses have been reported".

The affected site in the US remains fully operational.

"Greencore operates to the very highest levels of food safety and hygiene, and has launched an internal investigation in order to establish how this isolated incident of contamination came about," the spokesperson said. None of the products produced at the plant affected are available for sale in Ireland.

Greencore, headed by CEO Patrick Coveney, is recalling lots distributed between September 24 and 27.

Sandwiches in the recall were distributed to American Food and Vending, Hannaford Brothers, Target, and Turkey Hill in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

"As of 29 September, all customers have been instructed to remove and destroy impacted product. Customers who have purchased this sandwich are urged to not consume the product and should dispose of the recalled sandwich," the FDA said.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems and is linked to miscarriages and stillbirths.

Greencore saw its shares fall by as much as 6pc in London on the news, to 184.50 pence, knocking around £40m off the company valuation.

It is the latest blow to Greencore, which in August announced it was to phase out its contract with US coffee behemoth Starbucks.

Irish Independent

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