Polony from the Enterprise factory in Polokwane, Limpopo, has been fingered as the culprit behind the Listeriosis outbreak in the country.
“The source of the present outbreak can be confirmed to be the Enterprise food production facility in Polokwane,” said Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on Sunday.
Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), together with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), and officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) had visited the food production site in Polokwane.
Results from this factory became available at midnight, prompting the Health Minister to hold an urgent media briefing in which he informed the public to avoid all processed meat products immediately.
“While we know that polony is definitely implicated, there is a risk of cross-contamination of other ready-to-eat processed meat products, either at production, distribution or retail.
We advise members of the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat,” said the Minister.
Processed meat products such as polony, viennas, russians, frankfurters, sausages and cold meat products were listed as no go zones by the Minister.
The cause of the outbreak strain ST6 was confirmed in 16 environmental samples collected from the Enterprise facility.
In addition to the Polokwane facility, another Enterprise facility located in Germiston, Gauteng, tested positive for Listeria but it is yet to be confirmed if it is the same ST6 strain.
While another facility, known as the Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL), tested positive for Listeria, samples from this facility are not same strain that is causing the outbreak.
“Such contamination of ready-to-eat processed meat products constitutes a health risk. Also, over 10% of environmental samples collected by the EHPs at this facility have tested positive for L. monocytogenes,” said the Minister.
With this in mind, the Health Department issued a recall of these cold meat products for Enterprise and RCL.