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What We Can Learn From The Listeriosis Recall South Africa

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4 September 2018 Listeriosis outbreak officially over, Germiston Enterprise Factory Shop to reopen

Enterprise Factory Shop, a division of Tiger Brands, in Linton Jones Street opened its doors to the public following the confirmation that the listeriosis outbreak was over.

4 March 2018 – Enterprise Foods, a national food manufacturer and distributor has been ordered by the South African government to start a product listeriosis recall of all affected foods that have tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes ST6. This is the strain named as responsible for the current outbreak. Enterprise foods make polony, viennas, sandwich hams, deli meats and others. These are notorious foods that support the growth of Listeriosis causing bacteria.

Two of their factories (one in Polokwane, the other in Germiston) were investigated by the Dept of Environmental Health. Samples tested for Listeria monocytogenes. These were genotyped and confirmed positive for ST6. A second company Rainbow chicken was also named in the recall of their chicken polony.

Catch up on our article about the Listeria bacteria

Listeriosis recall comes after 180 deaths and 948 confirmed cases.

The two companies were notified on Sunday morning that their factories were to blame. They were informed that products from those factories would be recalled. The companies have to stop production and will have to recall all their products. They have lost their export licence for now.

Lionel October‚ director-general of the Department of Trade and Industry‚ said there must have been a drop in the standards in food testing by these companies. “It is clear there was a break in the procedures of testing and quality.” 

If you have been exposed to these products. Dispose of them immediately and commence a deep cleaning of your kitchen, fridges, meat slicers and cutting boards.

L.mono is, unfortunately, a persistent bacteria. Meaning that even after normal cleaning and sanitising, the bacterium can still survive. This bacterium is also a culprit of cross-contamination.

Recent research has shown that stronger sanitisers are needed on a more regular basis to eliminate L.mono. Chlorine-based biocides seem to be the most effective in killing these bacteria. And every effort needs to made in eliminating this problem.

If you have had these products in the kitchen the following advice should be followed:

  • Dismantle equipment that has come into contact with these foods. Clean and sanitise the equipment as per the correct cleaning and sanitising procedure. Swop out the QAC-sanitiser for a chlorine-based alternative. (below is a link to a video demonstration on how to clean and sanitise).
  • Clean and disinfect your fridges, tables and cutting boards.
  • Clean out your fridges where these products were kept, and ensure proper sanitation. Because of the persistence of Lmono, no areas should be left uncleaned and unsanitised.
  • Clean outwash and prep basins as well as the drains.
  • If you have displayed in the foods on your buffet, ensure that these containers and display units are effectively cleaned.
  • Continue to stay vigilant of all potential products.
How to Deep Clean and Sanitise a Table in the Kitchen

Despite the companies involved being identified. There is still the likelihood that other foods may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes ST6. A Listeriosis recall is not unique to South Africa and these outbreaks do happen throughout the world.

The lesson to be learnt is that manufacturers, kitchens, caterers and the home kitchen must have a good cleaning and sanitising system in place. Ideally, proper hygiene and food safety system should be implemented.

The Health Minister explains the source was identified:

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi explained how scientists had traced the source of the outbreak. Five children from the same crèche were hospitalised for gastroenteritis at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in January. Doctors suspected food poisoning. Samples from patients and their stools showed Listeria monocytogenes ST 6. The children had eaten polony at the crèche. Samples of polony from the crèche were taken by inspectors. One was made by Enterprise and the other by Rainbow Chicken. This gave clues to scientists of which factories to visit.

Follow the Listeriosis timeline below:

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