Johannesburg – The outbreak of listeriosis has been traced to an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Sunday.
The source of the food-borne diseases which killed 176 people, is polony and other processed, ready-to-eat meats. This was revealed by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi at a press briefing at the offices of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Following the results of tests which came in at midnight on Saturday, Motsoaledi said the source of the present listeriosis outbreak is the Enterprise factory in Polokwane.
Products from RCL foods, (formerly Rainbow Chicken) and Enterprise would be recalled in South Africa and abroad where they are exported. Since the beginning of January last year, 948 people have been infected with listeriosis.
Listeria has been traced to another Enterprise facility in Germiston on the East Rand, and a Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State, but further tests were needed as the sequence type was not yet known.
The National Consumer Commission has issued safety recall notices to those manufacturers and facilities, and the companies are now responsible for coming up with the recall plan.
The plan must be sufficient to cover their entire distribution chain, and the facilities will also have to resource and pay for the implementation.
Motsoaledi said several children presented with gastroenteritis in Soweto earlier in the week. Tests were done, and it was found that they had listeriosis.
Although the alarm was raised last year, the source eluded authorities.
The NICD however, had warned that soft cheeses, and unpasteurised milk and dairy products should be avoided by persons who are at risk of listeriosis. Of particular concern were processed, ready-to-eat meat products such as viennas, polonies, russians, ham, other ‘cold’ meats, sausages, various corned meats, salami, pepperoni and similar products. “These should be avoided, or thoroughly cooked in boiling water or heated at high temperatures of 70°C or higher before eating.”