Tshwane has seen an increasing number of notifications for the listeria bacterial contamination in the past few months, says the member of the mayoral committee for health, Sakkie du Plooy.
He said 13 notifications had been received between October and December last year.
In one case, an environmental health practitioner in Centurion had visited the home of a patient suffering from listeriosis and taken food samples and surface swabs. Chicken, which had been bought from a retailer in Tshwane, had tested positive for listeria monocytogenes.
Further investigation led to tests at the poultry plant and abattoir in the city where the chicken was processed. Du Plooy said 14 food samples and surface swabs were collected and sent for laboratory analysis.
The majority of the samples and swabs came out positive. The premises were issued with a prohibition notice in terms of Regulation 4(3) of the regulations governing the general hygiene requirements for food premises and transport of food (R962).
“The purpose was to contain the listeriosis from being distributed to the public with the intent to ensure intervention measures. The city is awaiting sample results submitted by both the city at the National Health Laboratory Services and the abattoir from their independent laboratory to confirm listeriosis negative testing, which will result in the prohibition notice being lifted,” Du Plooy said.
An employee at the Sovereign Foods abattoir told The Citizen that management was in meetings yesterday and could not respond to queries.
Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa said more than 365 cases have been detected in the province, with 28 related deaths from the beginning of 2017 to date.
The department is calling on people to follow the five key principles for safer food:
- Keep clean;
- Separate raw food from cooked food;
- Cook food thoroughly;
- Keep food at safe temperatures; and
- Use safe water and raw materials.