Retailers have dispelled any danger from local supermarkets’ ready-to-eat-meat products after fatalities were recorded from the consumption of such products in South Africa.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Products such as polony, ham, Vienna, Russian, Frankfurter, other sausages and cold meats not typically cooked have been condemned as sources of Listeriosis which has claimed 180 lives in South Africa since last year.
On Sunday‚ South Africa’s Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi named Tiger Brands subsidiary Enterprise’s food production plant in Polokwane‚ as the confirmed source of the unique strain of listeria.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Denford Mutashu, yesterday said most of retailers’ ready-to-eat meat products were processed locally and not sourced from South Africa where the disease was detected.
“There is no risk of the disease whatsoever; from this morning (yesterday) we have been speaking to our retailers to check whether we have such products imported from South Africa. They have not indicated any danger since they are saying they sell most of locally-produced products,” he said.
Listeriosis is food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) bacterium. It affects mainly pregnant women, new-borns, the elderly, and adults with impaired immune systems.
Mutashu said he was checking for such imported products in the local supermarkets, which if found would be referred for testing at the country’s standards association body.
He warned there was danger of the disease in the informal market, as traders would have smuggled goods from South Africa.
The outbreak has been categorised as the world’s biggest documented Listeriosis disease outbreak‚ with 948 confirmed cases and 180 deaths so far.
Pick n Pay South Africa and Woolworths have started recalling all products named as possible culprits in the Listeriosis outbreak, as well as refunding affected consumers.
Zambia yesterday ordered South African retailers to withdraw ready-to-eat meat imports from its stores after an outbreak of a deadly listeria.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said she needed more time to look into the matter to give a comprehensive response.
Secretary for Health, Gerald Gwinji, said government had been jolted into action.
“The government is tightening food surveillance at borders posts . . . We are still to establish the exact batches involved,” he said
Gwinji said government had banned Tiger Brands products and if they found their way into the country, they would be confiscated, quarantined and destroyed until government is certain the outbreak is under control.
The symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhoea.