The Department of Health issued a directive last week informing all South Africans to return all processed meat such as polony and viennas made by Enterprise and Rainbow to the shops from which they purchased these meats.
Listeriosis is an illness caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria known as listeria monocytogenes.
Its symptoms include fever, an upset stomach and general weakness.
Symptoms for pregnant women differ and may include a high temperature before or during labour.
There are 183 people country-wide whose deaths have been linked to this deadly infection.
It is unclear at this stage if one should avoid all processed meats.
Local butchery, Meat Mecca, claims they have not been affected by the outbreak.
“We have routinely been swabbing and testing for listeria monocytogenes on a weekly basis across our production units and to date, we have not tested positive for the presence of listeria monocytogenes,” says owner Henk van Staden.
Consumers of processed meats like polony and viennas can purchase these goods at Meat Mecca with peace of mind as they manufacture their own products.
Those who cannot take the food back to their local shops must be careful of how they dispose of their meats so that animals cannot get to their rubbish.
Like their human owners, animals can also get infected with listeria monocytogenes.
Local vet, Thulani Mthimunye says, “animals can get infected but no case cases have been reported in Springs to my knowledge.”
At the time of going to print, Mthimunye was unable to confirm what would happen to animals who eat processed meats that have tested positive for listeria.
The Addie will follow up on this story as it develops.
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