S Africa declares end of listeria outbreak

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Image SAgovnews  Twitter

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Image SAgovnews Twitter

This means that processed meat products can be consumed, but he urged people to pay attention to proper food safety, pointing out that while the outbreak is over, the disease is not completely gone.

The outbreak was then traced to the Enterprise Factory in Polokwane in March and ready to eat processed foods were pulled off the shelves across the country.

"We have put in place a surveillance system to find and test all listeria isolates from human cases to identify clusters that may represent outbreaks".

Despite concerted efforts, both government and private sector investigators were not able to determine how the Listeria outbreak strain ended up in the affected food facility.

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To date, R12 million was spent during the response period to deal with the Listeriosis outbreak.

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.

Listeriosis cases have been recorded for 40 years in South Africa. The vast majority were caused by the ST6 strain of listeria‚ which was found in Tiger Brands Polokwane's processed meat factory.

WHO, along with worldwide and local food safety experts agree that no new listeriosis cases have been identified since the first week of June 2018. Enterprise foods had been identified as the main source of the food-borne disease. Enterprise Foods exported products to 15 countries in the African region but no linked cases were reported.

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He said that the department has alerted municipalities to conduct inspections on fake food.

The Department of Environmental Affairs confirms that 5,812 tons of food have been recalled and destroyed since early March 2018.

Motsoaledi said it has not been established yet how the listeria emerged at the factory.

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

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