THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LISTERIOSIS OUTBREAK

 

If you have any of the polony or sausage products named by the health ministry as possible culprits in South Africa’s listeriosis outbreak - especially if they’re opened - remove them from your fridge immediately to avoid contaminating other food.

And yes‚ you will be refunded for them‚ even if they are half eaten and you no longer have a receipt as proof of purchase.

At a media conference on Sunday‚ heath minister Aaron Motsoaledi named Enterprise’s food production plant in Polokwane‚ Limpopo‚ as the confirmed source of the unique strain of listeria which has caused the world’s biggest documented listeriosis outbreak‚ with 948 confirmed cases and 180 deaths.

At least 16 samples of food products collected from that plant tested positive for the ST6 strain‚ unique to the South African outbreak of listeriosis. And preliminary results show that other ready-to-eat products at Enterprise’s Germiston plant‚ as well as Rainbow Chickens’ (RCL) Wolwehoek plant‚ also contain Listeria‚ but the sequence type has yet to be confirmed.
Enterprise polony identified as source of listeria outbreak
Polony and products from the Enterprise factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo‚ are the source of the world’s largest outbreak of listeria.


Responding‚ the National Consumer Commission has instructed Enterprise to urgently recall all its polony‚ smoked Russians and frankfurters and Rainbow has been instructed to do the same with its chicken viennas.

That includes immediately uplifting and quarantining the named products from it sales channels and notifying all their trading partners and the appropriate authorities “locally and internationally”.

In the meantime the commission has urged consumers who’ve bought the products to “quarantine” them in order to avoid cross-contamination‚ before returning them to the store for a refund‚ when the recall is announced. That’s because the listeria bacteria survives in fridges and an open pack of infected polony or viennas could contaminate other food stored nearby.
Don't panic if you have eaten Enterprise polony
One factory has been blamed as the source of the world’s largest outbreak of listeriosis - the Enterprise polony factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo.


Stores should refund consumers who returned the recalled products‚ partly consumed or not‚ even if they no longer had a receipt‚ said deputy consumer commissioner Thezi Mabuza.

Shortly after the media conference‚ Pick n Pay tweeted that it had begun removing “the products that may be linked to the listeriosis outbreak” from its stores.

“Customers who bought any Enterprise product (including Bokkie‚ Renown‚ Lifestyle‚ Mieliekip) or any Rainbow ready-to-eat products‚ eg polony or Russians‚ can return the product for a full refund.”

And later Checkers did the same: “We are taking swift action to remove products named by the Health Ministry as sources of listeria.

“You are most welcome to return any Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken cold meat products for a refund.”
The foods linked to listeria: Enterprise Russians‚ Rainbow Chicken polony and Enterprise polony
The foods linked to the world’s largest outbreak of listeria are Enterprise polony‚ smoked Russians and frankfurters‚ all coming from a single
Enterprise - part of the Tiger Brands stable - issued a statement on Sunday saying the company had “proactively amplified” its testing for listeria and could confirm that it found a “low detection” of a strain of listeria in some of its products on February 14.

But‚ the company added‚ "the presence of the ST6 strain has not been confirmed by our tests".

“We have sent samples to an external laboratory to test for the strain and should receive the results tomorrow (Monday).

“We have been actively engaging the department of health and the NICD on our findings and have openly collaborated with them.

“We await confirmation of the strain… In the meantime‚ we reaffirm our commitment to recall the identified Enterprise products as soon as possible.”

 

You don’t need to panic if you have eaten polony

Listeriosis affects people with weakened immune systems‚ the elderly‚ pregnant women and babies in the womb or infants who contract it from their mothers during birth. Head of the outbreak response team at the ‎NICD, Dr Kerrigan McCarthy, urged people not to panic.
Don't panic if you have eaten Enterprise polony
One factory has been blamed as the source of the world’s largest outbreak of listeriosis - the Enterprise polony factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo.

She elaborated‚ saying: “In the absence of symptoms‚ one should not worry. If someone with a weakened immune system has consumed these foods and developed stomach problems or fever and diarrhoea‚ go to the doctor and be tested.”

 

Listeria loves your fridge

Listeria can continue to multiply in uncooked food kept in the fridge. This is why processed meats‚ smoked meats and soft cheeses that are not cooked are often linked to outbreaks.

The NICD recommended the use of diluted bleach to clean areas where you may have kept viennas or polony.

 

 Cooking kills the listeria bacteria

Cooked food must be kept separate from raw food and utensils used on raw food must not touch cooked food‚ in order to avoid cross-contamination.
Enterprise polony identified as source of listeria outbreak
Polony and products from the Enterprise factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo‚ are the source of the world’s largest outbreak of listeria.

 

Listeria can be very difficult to find in food processing plants

The microscopic bacteria can live in nooks and crannies in factories and it can survive cleaning with detergents‚ said Professor Lucia Anelich‚ a food consultant.

The bacteria is not spread homogeneously through food so scientists can test one slice of polony and find nothing‚ then test another slice and find the bacteria.

Food safety is the responsibility of local government

Health inspectors‚ now called environmental health inspectors‚ do spot checks at food facilities. They are employed by local government. But many understaffed‚ overwhelmed municipalities do not hire or prioritise health inspectors‚ said Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. He wants to change the Constitution to remove this power from local government.

Source: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-03-05-7-things-to-know-about-listeria/ and https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/consumer-live/2018-03-04-listeriosis-what-to-do-with-your-enterprise-or-rainbow-polony/

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