Listeria hysteria, is it valid? Listeria or Listeriosis whatever you call it has been around for years.
Is the hysteria over the listeria outbreak warranted? In my opinion it is too little too late. The outbreak was bound to happen, and here’s why.
Food safety in South Africa
South Africa does not have a central authority or organisation to oversee food safety and hygiene. We have the Health Department who are blaming the food companies and then we have the ‘Food Safety Network’, this is the objective on their website.
Objective: The Directorate: Food Control ensures an optimal non-personal preventative primary health care service in respect of the safety of food for the South African community based on basic needs and the right to make informed choices without being misled by means of scientifically founded legislation, auditing and information actions.
We also have the Labour Department involved and the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry and sundry other departments involved in the import and export as well as the control of local food producers involved in all of this.
Listeria- South Africa wins the title!
Yet South Africa still managed to have the worst outbreak of Listeria in the world.
During my research I discovered that most of the legislation governing food control was last updated in the 1980’s! See the following links http://www.saafost.org.za/Legislation/index.asp
In an interview I found with Dr Lise Korsten, she mentions that most of the large companies are self-regulated.
Why did it take us 14 months to determine where the outbreak originated and besides closing the two factories where it was found, what is our government doing about it?
I know that there is private litigation happening, but what else? I missed the product recall 4th March 2018, possibly because I don’t use Enterprise or Rainbow chicken products. Products are still being recalled.
Dr Korsten said in her interview on http://ewn.co.za/2018/03/13/analysis-what-led-to-world-s-worst-listeriosis-outbreak-in-south-africa, that a food safety outbreak was imminent and had been expected by the scientific community???
She also stated that over the last 10 years suggestions have been made but no headway was achieved.
We are not the only country to have outbreaks of Listeriosis. We are, unfortunately, the title holder for the largest outbreak in the world, with nearly 1000 cases having been reported since Jan 2017! http://theconversation.com/spike-in-listeriosis-infections-in-south-africa-why-it-matters-
Pregnant women are the most vulnerable.
- It is found in raw or unpasteurised milk, or dairy products that contain unpasteurised milk,
- Soft cheeses like feta, goat cheese and brie,
- Foods from delicatessen counters like prepared salads and cold meats that have not been heated and reheated adequately,
- Refrigerated pâtés
Attention Dr Motsoaledi
Dr Motsoaledi, you admitted that the government had failed in its environmental inspection responsibilities http://ewn.co.za/2018/03/09/motsoaledi-govt-can-t-be-blamed-for-listeriosis-outbreak, so what are you doing about it now?
I beg you, with all the good you are doing to promote healthy lifestyles in this beautiful country by encouraging exercise and pre-natal visits, vaccinations etc., please take action now to prevent this happening again!
Set up a National body to properly govern the food industry. Look at our food safety laws. Speak to the scientists and those who know.
This outbreak cost us the lives of 78 babies and over 100 other people. Who knows what these deaths have cost the economy now and in the future. According to an interview with times live, Dr Motsoaledi expects further outbreaks. https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2018-03-15-motsoaledi-expects-more-listeria-cases-to-emerge/ and Namibia is now being affected too! https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2018-03-13-namibia-reports-first-listeriosis-case-after-south-african-outbreak/