Despite panic over the listeriosis outbreak, some social media users took to Twitter for a light banter over the foodborne disease. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Despite panic over the listeriosis outbreak and the seriousness of it, in true South African style, some social media users took to Twitter on Monday for a light banter over the foodborne disease.

Plenty of memes, jokes, spoofs and even jingles were created about ready-to-eat foods such as polony, sausages, viennas. 

These ranged from "parents inviting uncles to now raid the fridge and eat kiddies lunch box items,” right up to a tongue-in-cheek take on Enterprise's motto "Don't Compromise Serve Enterprise" with some saying the organisation was now heavily compromised. 

Others humorously told of how they have consumed contaminated food and were scared, some were adamant they'd continue eating bacon and Russians saying they would think about death later on while others said there’d be a major upset in the country if Listeriosis was to be ever found in alcohol.

Some users proved visibly upset at the fact they can no longer eat Kota (bunny chows) mostly sold in township tuckshops while others tweeted that this as a distraction over the expropriation of land without compensation debate. 

Among the flurry of comic tweets, some genuine concerns have been raised over homeless people consuming products that have been thrown away in dustbins and the deaths that have occurred so far.

And although the frenzy has been over processed meats, some officials have stressed the importance of people observing clean hygiene when handling all types of food. This includes washing fresh produce and cooking meat thoroughly because Listeria bacteria

commonly occurs in soil, water, vegetation and in the faeces of some and can
contaminate a variety of food types, including meat and dairy products.

While Listeria cannot be spread from one person to another through physical contact it is serious and groups at higher risk of contracting it include pregnant women, neonates and people with weakened immune systems.

It takes up to 70 days for the bacteria to be incubated in the body of a person before they fall gravely ill. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches nausea and diarrhoea.

The Department of Health, as well as supermarket chain stores since, have urged consumers to return all products immediately and refrain from consuming any processed meats while Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says investigations are still ongoing after the primary source of the outbreak was traced back to an Enterprise production facility in Polokwane Limpopo. Products from Rainbow Chicken Limited have also been identified as a plausible source for listeria. 

Political Bureau