City doing polony patrols

2018-03-08 14:14
Health officers educate on listeria and monitor.

Health officers educate on listeria and monitor. (Ian Carbutt)

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Msunduzi Municipality’s environmental health practitioners have launched city-wide inspections of formal and informal businesses to monitor the recall of contaminated products following the outbreak of listeriosis.

KwaZulu-Natal reported 51 cases and 11 people have died since the outbreak. Six cases were in the eThekwini District, two in Amajuba District and one each in Ugu, uThukela and uMgungundlovu districts.

The city itself has not had any positive tests for listeriosis.

Msunduzi environmental health specialist Vishal Singh said the city health department will also visit fast food outlets and other street food traders, and will continue with its education and awareness campaign around personal hygiene, food safety and other risks to human health.

“We have been on high alert since January in terms of disease investigations, sampling and analyses of suspected foodstuff and environmental swabbing,” Singh said.

He said both formal and informal businesses will be audited routinely by health practitioners and samples of food and water will be taken in for microbiological analyses.

Singh said they have a strict directive from the national Department of Health to ensure that Enterprise products including polony, smoked Russians and frankfurters are removed from all retailers.

He said that Rainbow Chicken Limited products were only recalled as a precautionary measure.

“We have commenced with a citywide inspection of all food premises that include the Central Business District (CBD), Northern suburbs, Greater Edendale and Vulindlela. The vetting will also include malls and shopping centres in the city.”

National Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said listeriosis was widely distributed in nature and can be found in soil, water and vegetation.

“In December in Tshwane a chicken sample was collected from a fridge of a patient and it tested positive. The chicken was traced back to a store and from there traced to an abattoir.

“Work has commenced on implementation of a plan for inspection of food-processing facilities including packaging at distribution plants for bigger retailers and inspected by environmental health.

“Practitioners from municipalities initially within most affected provinces Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal had samples taken to assess the quality of the processing systems.

“The results will be used to guide public health interventions for listeriosis prevention control,” he said.

Singh warned that businesses who do not comply with the directive will be issued with notices and may face legal action. “Thus far, almost all formal and informal food premises are compliant. They are all aware of the recall and are co-operating with officials,” he added.

He said while some of the recalled products will be sent directly to Tiger Brands, products that will be discarded will be monitored strictly to ensure that they are not sold anywhere else.

“The disposal and destruction will be supervised by an environmental health practitioner in terms of the Foodstuffs Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act no.54 of 1972. This will be done at the landfill site at New England Road and arrangements are being made for incineration as and when required.”

Singh said the environmental health unit practitioners have already embarked on 191 education sessions across Msunduzi to teach residents about listeriosis.

Meanwhile, the ANC provincial executive council yesterday called on the public in the province to avoid consuming processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat in order to curb listeriosis.

The KZN Health Department has established a provincial Listeriosis Outbreak Response Task Team, which consists of a number of health specialists across the board.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  listeriosis

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