September 13, 2018 / 7:50 AM / 2 months ago

Greenyard to re-open Hungarian plant after finding listeria cause

(Reuters) - Belgian frozen foods producer Greenyard said on Thursday it would re-open its Hungarian plant after identifying the cause of an outbreak of the food-borne disease listeria, driving its shares 15 percent up.

Greenyard said it had found “persistent presence” of listeria monocytogenes bacteria in one of the freezing tunnels and would therefore close down this tunnel.

On June 29, the Hungarian Food Safety Authority issued a resolution for Greenyard to stop all marketing and to recall all its frozen food produced in the Hungarian plant.

Greenyard shares plunged 38 percent on July 16, its worst day since going public in 1999, following local media reports that deaths in Europe due to a listeria outbreak were potentially linked to frozen vegetable products produced by the company’s plant in Hungary.

The company is confident that the impact would be within its previous assessment of 30 million euros ($34.87 million) due to the restart of the facility. Its shares were 13.4 percent up by 0735 GMT, having risen as much as 15.2 percent earlier.

The re-opening of the facility has been reviewed by the authorities and will be based on “stringent release procedures”, the company said.

Greenyard said it had shifted some of the production to other facilities in Europe and using the facilities of subcontractors for some products, adding it was also implementing additional safety and cleaning measures.

Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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