Breakthrough as source of listeriosis outbreak traced

BSIP  UIG                       Listeria denitrificans viewed under SEM. Magnification 10000x

BSIP UIG Listeria denitrificans viewed under SEM. Magnification 10000x

Products including locally popular polony sausages, also known as baloney, made at the Enterprise plant would be subject to immediate safety recalls, he added.

The Shoprite Group confirmed on Sunday that it has started to remove the products of Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken from its shelves.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has announced that government has narrowed down the sources of the deadly listeriosis outbreak in South Africa.

"Customers who bought any Enterprise ready to eat products (Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle & Mieliekip) and Rainbow ready-to-eat products can return the product for a full refund".

The foodborne disease, which is caused by bacteria found in soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces, has claimed over 170 lives, with over 900 cases reported since January 2017.

"The source of the present Listeriosis outbreak has been traced to the Enterprise factory in Polokwane and it tested positive for ST6 strain".

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), together with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have since visited the food production site in Polokwane. Remember that in the last press conference I informed you that from clinical isolates obtained from patients (patient blood), 9 sequence types of Listeria monocytogenes were isolated and 91% were of sequence type 6 (ST6).

"This is because listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) can be transferred to other products it comes into contact with", he said. "Another factory is a factory in Sasolburg, Free State where polony tested positive for Listeria, but the strain is unconfirmed", he said. Motsoaledi urged anyone who has purchased Enterprise or Rainbow Chicken products to throw them away and clean out their fridges to avoid cross-contamination.

"As a company that prioritises the health and safety of consumers above all else, we are committed to ensuring that all Enterprise products, as identified, will be recalled as part of the directive received", said Tiger Brands.

It advises people to wash hands and kitchen surfaces, keep raw and cooked food separate, to cook food thoroughly and store it in the fridge.

"As an additional precautionary measure, we are recalling a limited number of viennas and cold meats".

A listeriosis outbreak in Soweto provided the breakthrough in tracing the bacterial outbreak. In addition, as a precaution, Pick n Pay branded chicken polony, manufactured by Rainbow, is also being withdrawn. Of these 948, a total 659 patients have been traced and 180 of them have unfortunately died.

Results were confirmed on Saturday night‚ a month later.

This followed a safety recall by the National Consumer Commission after an Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane was identified as a source of the disease. Motsoaledi said it was at that stage of the investigation that officials chose to "visit all food-processing sites, food-packaging sites as well as food production sites where possible".

- anyone with a weakened immune system (due to HIV infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, people with transplants and those on immunosuppressive therapy such as oral corticosteroids, chemotherapy, or anti-TNF therapy for auto-immune disease).

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