November 18, 2018

Polony can be put back into your trolley - listeria outbreak is over

06 September 2018, 04:43 | Rodolfo Wallace

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Image SAgovnews Twitter

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Image SAgovnews  Twitter

While the department has identified an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane as the source of the outbreak, the cause of the listeria bacteria is still unknown.

This does not mean that people will no longer suffer from listeriosis - remember, listeriosis has occurred in South Africa for the past 40 years. Listeria had also been identified at an RCL-owned facility (Rainbow Foods). Also on this day, the Department of Health, along with the National Institute for Communicable Disease-both supported by WHO-drafted an emergency response plan aimed at controlling and ultimately ending the outbreak, and preventing future listeriosis outbreaks.

The government announced on December 5 past year that the country was hit by a listeriosis outbreak that was later traced to two food-processing factories in the country, prompting a recall of 5,812 tonnes of affected food stuffs.

Three months later, at the beginning of March, 180 people had died and just under 1 000 cases had been confirmed.

While processed meats were officially given the clear at a media briefing on Monday, Motsoaledi warned the public that listeria was still a reality in the country.

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According to the World Health Organisation, this outbreak was the largest recorded globally to date.

On Monday, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced the end of the listeriosis outbreak, saying that there has not been a new case reported in the last three months.

"No cases of listeria, due to the outbreak strain, have been identified since the first week of June 2018", the minister said.

Every factory in the country‚ a total of 157‚ that makes processed meat has been inspected by WHO health inspectors and environmental health inspectors. "Government and private investigators have not been able to say what the source is", Motsoaledi said. However, everyone is encouraged to practice good hand hygiene, safe food temperatures, cooking food thoroughly, and keeping raw and cooked foods separate.

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