September 21, 2018

Motsoaledi: listeria threat is finally over

06 September 2018, 04:41 | Silvia Roy

South Africa: Listeriosis Outbreak Officially Over - Motsoaledi

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and members from various sectors brief the media on listeriosis and counterfeit food

"Whilst welcoming this, we hope that government will put into place a food safety regulatory body; staffed with people with relevant expertise from the state, civil society formations and academia; and hope that the industry, by a way of South African Meat Processors Association and related business bodies will come to the party", Fawu said in a statement late on Monday.

The United Nations had said South Africa's listeriosis outbreak was believed to be the largest-ever worldwide. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) was pivotal in assisting with their emergency response plan to control and end the outbreak as well as strengthen systems to prevent further Listeriosis outbreaks. Listeria had also been identified at an RCL-owned facility (Rainbow Foods).

WHO, along with global and local food safety experts agree that no new listeriosis cases have been identified since the first week of June 2018.

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Motsoaledi says over the last two months, the incidents rate of laboratory confirmed listeria cases has dropped to pre-outbreak levels. While the outbreak has been contained, the source has still not been found.

He said 900 health inspectors were retrained and they inspected 157 factories.

At the time the source of the listeriosis outbreak was identified as polony and products from an Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo.

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The health minister also addressed the recent allegations of "fake food" being sold by some food retailers in parts of the country, saying that his department has not yet received any evidence of this.

With these words, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi finally declared kota safe to eat again after many South Africans stayed away from it following the listeriosis outbreak a few months ago. Early investigation should detect outbreaks faster and identify affected foods quicker.

Every factory in the country‚ a total of 157‚ that makes processed meat has been inspected by WHO health inspectors and environmental health inspectors.

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