Listeriosis: Why there is no lead yet on source of deadly outbreak
Pretoria – Tracing the source of the listeriosis outbreak is like finding a needle in a haystack but also having to search for the haystack itself, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.
Briefing the media in Pretoria on Monday, Motsoaledi said the source of the outbreak, which has already claimed the lives of 61 people since January 2017, was proving to be extremely difficult to find.
Listeriosis is a disease caused by a bacterium found in soil, water and vegetation, which contaminates food sources, such as animal products and fresh produce.
NB Recommendation for South Africans:
All South Africans should practice basic food hygiene principles as outlined in the World Health Organization’s ‘Five Keys to Safer Food’ programme.
NB Steps for Prevention of Listeria in the Food / Beverage Industry:
In business, good hygiene practices, backed by a Quality Assurance Programme, are vital to combat Listeriosis.
- All fresh produce and incoming food needs to be thoroughly washed when entering the premises with a disinfecting agent, such as Chlorine
- Keep raw food separate from cooked food
- Ensure that workers follow good personal hygiene and handwashing habits
- Thorough cleaning of premises and equipment with a disinfecting agent (not just soap) is essential
- Continuous monitoring of the critical control points is important to check the efficiency of cleaning systems
- Packaging material needs to be very clean
- Ensure that food is refrigerated and reheated to the correct temperatures
- The cold chain must be strictly followed as the chances of contamination increase in moist environments.
How to Monitor the Presence of Bacteria and Listeria:
You can use ATP to monitor the general effectiveness of your Quality Assurance Programme – with immediate results.
For more detailed bacterial investigations, specifically of Listeria, you can use the InSite environmental test for Listeria – this will require 24 – 30 hours of incubation.
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