South Africa health minister says will support listeria litigation

SA needs stricter safety policies for imported food products

SA needs stricter safety policies for imported food products

SA is in the throes of what the World Health Organization has described as the worst outbreak in recorded history.

NAN reports that authorities say a listeriosis outbreak, believed to be the world's largest, has claimed 172 lives in South Africa.

"We understand that this was only concluded with meat importers last week".

"When it is implemented, it will be a step forward in protecting South African consumers, but it should have happened long ago", Sapa interim CEO Charlotte Nkuna said in a media release on Friday.

As a result, South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi had told citizens not to eat any ready-to-eat processed meat (not just polony) due to the risk of cross-contamination. However, both have suspended operations until a full investigation is performed.

The company has recalled processed ready-to-eat meats produced by its Enterprise unit, although its chief executive said there was no direct link between the deaths of more than 180 people who tested positive for listeria and its products.

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"This is because Listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) of polony can be transferred to other products it comes into contact with, including viennas, russians, frankfurters, other sausages, and other "cold meat" products that are typically not cooked before eating". "We have also been working with DAFF to put in place the most effective measures to ensure consumer safety, the most recent being the implementation of the Independent Meat Inspection Scheme as well as reviewing the testing protocols for meat".

"DAFF must visit the plants in Brazil that export MDM to South Africa".

Listeria is the same bacteria that recently caused four deaths in Australia through contaminated rockmelons.

Symptoms from the food-borne disease include diarrhea, fever, general body pains, vomiting and weakness.

Whilst most people who contract listeria don't have any adverse symptoms, it's particularly unsafe for the elderly, sick people, pregnant women and unborn children.

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