05 Mar 2018 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 MAR (NAMPA) Imports of all processed meat products from South Africa have been suspended following an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.
A media statement issued Monday by Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry said the ministry has notified importers about the suspension of imports and in transit movement of ready to eat food.
The banned food includes polony, frankfurters, viennas, all types of hams and salami produced by any Rainbow Chickens Limited and Enterprise Food branches.
Ready-to-eat processed meat products from the two producers have been identified as sources of the deadly listeriosis outbreak in neighbouring South Africa.
All import permits and in transit permits issued prior to the public notification are hereby cancelled and recalled. Retailers who might have imported these types of products from the branches are strongly advised to remove them from the shelves, Chief Veterinary Officer in the Directorate of Veterinary Services, Adrianatus Maseke said in the statement.
It further said listeriosis food poisoning is caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, adding that the disease can be severe in pregnant women, young children and the elderly.
Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhoea, headache, stiff neck, confusion and loss of balance.
The disease is treatable and the public is urged to visit health facilities when experiencing some of the symptoms, it said.
The spread of the bacteria can be prevented by practicing safe food handling practices such as washing hands before and after handling food as well as after using a toilet.
Also, food should be cooked well and stored safely, while milk or foods that contain unpasteurised milk should be avoided.
Meanwhile, Pick n Pay Namibia, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver and List Group, Monday morning issued an urgent instruction to its stores countrywide to immediately remove all Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken Limited products from its shelves.
As of 02 March, the total number of laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases had risen to 948 since January 2017 in that country. Of those, 659 patients have been traced, while close to 200 have died.