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Durban - New regulations that are set to curb another potential listeriosis outbreak will come into effect in October, according to the departments of health and trade and industry. 

The outbreak of listeriosis from contaminated processed food resulted in the deaths of a number of people as well as the closure of processing plants last year.    

New regulations are intended to enable the inspection of processing plants in order to avoid a similar tragedy.

The regulations follow an agreement between the departments of trade and industry (dti) and health (DoH) on the final publication of the Compulsory Specification for Processed Meat Products (VC 9100). 

The new regulations will be enforced by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), an entity reporting to the dti.

After extensive stakeholder consultation, the regulation was gazetted on August 8, 2019, to come into effect two months from the date of publication.

The aim of the compulsory specification is to effectively regulate those categories of processed meat products that are considered high risk, in order to protect the health and safety of consumers. 

The dti will work with the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development (DALRRD) to coordinate the enforcement of the new regulations. 

The NRCS is setting up an extensive regulatory programme of inspections throughout the country. 

This will enable government and industry to detect any food borne bugs early. 

Government will continue to make improvements to food safety in order to ensure that consumers can rely on the food products that the local industry is producing.

African News Agency (ANA)