South African Listeria outbreak traced to RTE processed meat

  • South African Listeria outbreak traced to RTE processed meat

South African Listeria outbreak traced to RTE processed meat

Keeping them among other products could cause cross contamination.

Retailers are disposing of all Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken products after the announcement today that they had traced the source of the Listeriosis outbreak to an Enterprise facility in Polokwane.

"We are all extremely concerned by listeriosis - we all want to find the source or sources of listeriosis, together with the government", Nevashnee Naicker, a Tiger Brands spokeswoman, said.

Motsoaledi also said that the department was investigating Rainbow products' processing site in the Free State.

The public is cautioned to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat.

Listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) can be transferred to other products such as "cold meat" items typically not cooked before eating.

Safety recall notices were issued to Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken Limited, the department said. The city is the capital of South Africa's Limpopo province.

Tiger Brands, on behalf of its division Enterprise Foods, has committed to recalling products that are identified with listeriosis outbreak, but are conducting its own tests as well.

"We have sent samples to an external laboratory to test for the strain and should receive the results tomorrow (Monday)".

The safety recall will affect the manufacturers' entire distribution networks, both domestic and worldwide. Enterprise says it is cooperating fully. It is also recalling all of its polony brands.

Investigation of the RCL Wolwehoek production facility is also underway.

"A team from the NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) has interviewed 109 ill people to obtain details about foods they had eaten in the month before falling ill". It can take up to 70 days after exposure for listeriosis symptoms to develop.

Processed meat products such as bologna, sausages and cold meat products were listed as no-go zones by the minister.

The United Nations has previously said South Africa's listeriosis outbreak is believed to be the largest-ever worldwide.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said other manufacturers were still under investigation.

A Rainbow Chicken factory in Wolwerhoek in Sasolburg also tested positive for listeria monocytogenes - but it was not the strain causing this current outbreak. He told pregnant women to avoid any processed meat "like the plague". "Recalled meat is being isolated and will be safely destroyed", spokeswoman Tamra Capstick-Dale said in a statement. Lucia Anelich, a microbiologist and prominent South African food safety expert, said it is the worst foodborne outbreak "in global history".

Providing an update on the impact of the disease at a media briefing on Sunday, he said that as of 2 March 2018, the number of laboratory-confirmed cases had risen to 948 since January 2017.

The death toll stood at 172 as recently as February 22.