CAPE TOWN - The recent outbreak of listeriosis disease has caused both consumers and retailers to delve into panic, acting quickly to get rid of all foods that may contain the deadly bacterium that has already claimed the lives of 180 people.
We take a look at what consumers can do at this stage.
Lab tests by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed that an Enterprise’s factory in Germiston was the source of the strain that resulted in the outbreak.
Since then, the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, has ordered a recall on of processed meat manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow.
Companies have also responded to the outbreak by wiping their shelves clear of all Enterprise products, displaying their commitment to keep the pandemic under control.
Among the companies who have acted swiftly is Pick n Pay and Shoprite.
According to Group Executive of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Pick n Pay Stores, David North said that Pick n Pay has acted immediately to withdraw all products from the manufacturing sites identified by the Department of Health.
The company also said that all fridges and preparation areas will be re-cleaned to prevent cross-contamination.
Shoprite also jumped on the bandwagon and removed all processed foods by Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken yesterday.
The group also said that consumers may return any Enterprise or Rainbow Chicken foods for a full refund.
Checkers has also taken shift action, ensuring their clients that they will be removing all effected products from their shelves and will be refunding their customers, regardless of whether they have receipts or not.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) warned that persons infected with listeria may show the following symptoms: flu-like illness with diarrhoea including fever; general body pains vomiting and weakness; infection of the bloodstream which is called septicaemia; and meningoencephalitis (infection of the brain).
The Minister of Health cautioned that the disease is treatable, however, people should take certain precautions such as:
- keeping clean and washing your hands with soap and clean running water before handling food or after visiting the bathroom.
- cook food thoroughly because listeria is sensitive to heat and will die if well cooked.
- separate raw and cooked food.
- Keep food at safe temperatures. Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours. Promptly refrigerate cooked food below five degrees.
Use safe water and raw materials. Boil water if it is not from a clean, safe source, and wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before ingesting.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE