Listeria monocytogenes. Picture: Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Johannesburg - The South African government said on Friday that it was conducting a review of food safety legislation in a bid to prevent another deadly outbreak of listeriosis.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported this week that the death toll from what the World Health Organisation deems the world's worst-ever listeria outbreak in South Africa has risen to over 200. But government said the number of cases of listeria have declined drastically cases since identification of the source of the food-borne bacteria and the recall of implicated products.

Government said that factories that have produced implicated products ceased production in March and have been inspected by a team of national, provincial, district officials and World Health Organisation (WHO) food safety experts, adding that imported meat and all imported products of animal origin would be monitored.

"Risk profiling of food processing premises is underway and preparations have been made for a programme of inspections and laboratory testing of high-risk processing facilities of food that may be at risk for Listeria contamination. A review of food safety legislation is being conducted," it said.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi will on Saturday address ministers of the African Regions World Health Assembly about the South African situation.

African News Agency/ANA