Health Care

Listeriosis outbreak: What you need to know

Listeriosis outbreak: What you need to know

Health experts have also warned against the consumption of bunny chows and the popular township kota snacks. "Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, is expected to give details on the latest developments".

Motsoaledi said polony was a definite source of the disease.

Motsoaledi said several children presented with gastroenteritis in Soweto earlier in the week.

He said a team from the NICD recently interviewed 109 people as a means of establishing what they ate just a month before falling ill.

Pick n Pay is the latest retailer to take all listeriosis-linked foods from its shelves, eNCA reported. "Recalled meat is being isolated and will be safely destroyed", Pick n Pay, which has 1,420 stores in South Africa, said in a statement.

Tiger Brands, which owns Enterprise, said in a statement on Sunday that a strain of listeria was detected in some Enterprise products on 14 February but the presence of the ST6 strain had not yet been identified at the time.

It advises people to wash hands and kitchen surfaces, keep raw and cooked food separate, to cook food thoroughly and store it in the fridge.

In South Africa, he added, turnover margins are probably around 8%. The safety of customers is always our top concern. It can contaminate a variety of food types, including meat and dairy products.

Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes, with pregnant women, newborns, elderly and people with weakened immune systems most susceptible.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhoea.

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In January Motsoaledi acknowledged that the disease was first discovered by doctors from neonatal units in the Chris Hani Baragwanath and Steve Biko Hospitals in July 2017 - who then alerted the NICD.

There they found two brands of polony, one from Enterprise and the other from Rainbow Chicken Limited.

In addition to the Polokwane facility, another Enterprise facility located in Germiston in Gauteng Province tested positive for listeria but it is yet to be confirmed if it is the same ST6 strain.

"The National Consumer Commission has, in terms of Section 60 (2) of the Consumer Protection Act, this morning issued manufacturers concerned with safety recall notices", said Motsoaledi.

Results from this factory became available at midnight, prompting the Health Minister to hold an urgent media briefing in which he informed the public to avoid all processed meat products immediately.

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), together with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), and officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) had visited the food production site in Polokwane.

Rainbow Chicken polony is also a cause of listeriosis.

A consumer, Thabelo Nemulodi, said she had bought russians and polony for her children's lunch box on Friday.

"I'll call them at home right now and tell them to throw the polony away", he said.

"We are committed to ensuring that all Enterprise products, as identified, will be recalled as part of the directive received". Motsoaledi said it was at that stage of the investigation that officials made a decision to "visit all food-processing sites, food-packaging sites as well as food production sites where possible".


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