Motsoaledi: listeria threat is finally over

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Officials said 5,812 tons of affected foods have been recalled and destroyed since March.

According to the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), there are between 60 and 80 cases of listeriosis in the country for the past five years.

An investigation of the Rainbow Chicken Wolwehoek production facility was also done after polony products tested positive for listeria monocytogenes, but they were not the ST6 strain.

Listeriosis is a bacterial infection that can cause severe illness - including severe sepsis, meningitis, or encephalitis - sometimes resulting in lifelong harm and even death.

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"I'm here to announce that we no longer have a listeriosis outbreak".

Motsoaledi briefed the media at the National Health Laboratory Service in Sandringham about the country's efforts to end the outbreak of Listeriosis.

He said that the department has alerted municipalities to conduct inspections on fake food.

Three months later, at the beginning of March, 180 people had died and just under 1 000 cases had been confirmed.

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"This means for the past three months no new case of listeria of the outbreak strain has been identified and over the last two months the incident rate of laboratory-confirmed listeria cases has dropped to the pre-outbreak levels" said Motsoaledi.

South Africa's food safety laws have been revamped.

The emergency response plan will continue to be carried out. "Government and private investigators have not been able to say what the source is", Motsoaledi said.

With the Health Department's announcement comes the reassurance that RTE processed meat can now be safely consumed, just as it was before the outbreak. These include washing hands‚ keeping raw and cooked food separate‚ cooking food thoroughly‚ using safe water and storing food at safe temperatures.

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