By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
Listeria, which causes flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhoea, infection of the blood stream and brain, has led to 180 fatalities and 948 reported cases illnesses in south Africa since January 2017.
In what is one of South Africa’s most deadly health hazards will see meat products removed from the shelves by various leading retail outlets.
This follows health minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s confirmation on Sunday of the source of the country’s Listeria outbreak.
Officials have identified a meat product known as “polony” from the Enterprise Food-Production facility in Polokwane, Limpompo province in South Africa as the source of the outbreak, noted Motsoaledi.
Pick n Pay and other stores have announced that they will be removing a number of items from their shelves.
On Sunday evening, Pick n Pay said the retailer that both Enterprise and Rainbow (the two major companies implicated in the outbreak) supply a very broad range of retailers across South Africa.
And as a result of this, will see most of their products recalled.
Pick n Pay also noted, “All Enterprise products (including the Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle and Mieliekip brands) have already been recalled by the company concerned and we are urgently withdrawing them from our stores.”
“In addition, all ready-to-eat products such as polony and russian sausages manufactured at the Rainbow facility in Sasolburg are also being withdrawn.”
The company said that as an added precaution, Pick n Pay branded chicken polony, manufactured by Rainbow, is also being withdrawn.
“All fridges and food preparation areas in our stores will now be re-cleaned to prevent any cross-contamination. Recalled meat is being isolated and will be safely destroyed,” it said.
Both Spar and Shoprite have also confirmed that they are also in the process of removing all foods provided by Rainbow and Enterprise across their stores.
“In the interests of our customers, we will be removing all Enterprise products and Rainbow Polony from our stores immediately. Customers are welcome to return these products to our stores for a full refund,” the Spar group said.
Shoprite said it had also immediately started to remove the products produced by Enterprise and Rainbow products from its perishable departments and delicatessens, and that affected customers would be offered a full refund.
According to Reuters, South Africans were told not to consume“ready to eat” processed meat on Sunday as the government linked a listeria outbreak which has killed 180 people to a sausage meat made by the country’s biggest consumer foods group.
The meat, known as“Polony”, made by Tiger Brands unit Enterprise Food and by RCL Foods, would be recalled from stores, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.
“We advise members of the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat,” Motsoaledi said.
Motsoaledi further added, “Due to the risk of cross-contamination of other ready-to-eat processed meat products, Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, sausages, and other“cold meat” products that are typically not cooked before eating posed a risk.”
Nevashnee Naicker, a Tiger Brands spokeswoman commented, “We are all extremely concerned by listeriosis – we all want to find the source or sources of listeriosis, together with the government.”
CNN reported, South Africa’s health ministry is warning consumers to avoid “all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat” after tracing the source of deadly listeria outbreak to a sausage meat product.
“As of 02 March 2018, a total of laboratory-confirmed cases have risen to 948, still counting from January 2017,” Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said Sunday in remarks published on the website for South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases. “Of these 948, a total 659 patients have been traced and 180 of them have unfortunately died.”
In a statement on posted to its Twitter account, Enterprise said it was working with all relevant authorities to recall its products.
“We have suspended operations at both Enterprise manufacturing facilities (Polokwane and Germiston) and have stopped supply to retailers,” the company said.
Motsoaledi said the listeria had been traced to the product after nine children under the age of 5 presented at a hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, on January 12 with febrile gastroenteritis.
Samples of polony manufactured by Enterprise as well as another company were taken from their daycare center. Products manufactured at Enterprise’s Polokwane factory subsequently tested positive for the strain that was later found to be responsible for almost all of the cases, Motsoaledi said.