JOHANNESBURG, September 3 – The Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday announced that the outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa was over.
Speaking at the briefing at the National Health Laboratory Service in Sandringham, Motsoaledi said since June there had not been any new reports of listeriosis, which indicated that the outbreak was over. He said it was now safe to eat processed meats including polony.
The health minister initially warned about the outbreak in December last year when the deadly listeria bacteria killed nearly 40 people mostly from Gauteng. More than 700 cases were recorded, which the World Health Organisation said was the largest ever recorded outbreak of the disease.
At the time the source of the listeriosis outbreak was identified as polony and products from an Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo.
Last week violent protests against expired and fake food products left three people dead as protesters ransacked shops owned by foreign nationals. At least 27 people were arrested in connection with the violence and looting.
On Monday Motsoaledi said recent reports of the sale of expired foods had been proved in some instances, but he said he was yet to see any proof of “fake food” as alleged by concerned consumers on social media.
Some reports suggested that fake food included bread that did not dissolve in water and rice made from plastic.
However, the health minister said he was still waiting for proof of the existence of such fake foods.
Motsoaledi said there were many scientists in SA who were ready to test such food as soon as samples could be provided. He invited the public to bring samples of fake food for testing and promised to refund them upon receipt of proof of purchase.
– African News Agency (ANA)