UPDATE: More details about listeriosis

Kobus van Wyk, 45, is a Enviromental health practitioner.

Kobus van Wyk, 45, is an Environmental Health practitioner from the City of Johannesburg’s Health Department, who, in the light of the listeriosis outbreak, told us how their inspection process works.

Also read: Safety tips to prevent deadly listeriosis

The purpose of the recently launched campaign is not just to inform the public about the dangers of listeriosis, but also to inspect butcheries, big chain stores, spazas, hawkers, tuck shops, restaurants and so on, to see if they abide with the methods of preventing the spread of listeriosis, which actually started in December 2017, but only came to light after research.

Van Wyk said, “Most big chain stores have removed a certain make of polony, viennas, cold meats etcetera from their shelves or fridges. If an inspection reveals that the rules are not complied with, the owner is served with a prohibition notice. That means they must remove the contaminated food from the shelves, seal it, and send it back to the suppliers.”

These products cannot be dumped at normal dumping sites, as they constitute hazardous waste. The problem is that there are not enough incinerators
to handle destroying all the hazardous waste.

Also read: Enterprise polony identified as source of SA listeriosis outbreak

The Listeriosis Monocytogenes (ST 6) bacteria has caused up to 183 deaths and 967 reported cases. Of the deaths, sadly 97 were neonatal babies. There are still 289 pending cases, and 476 discharged patients.

The point is this – have your boerewors roll, but make sure that you cook meat, mince and chicken extremely well, at more than 70 degrees Celsius. Besides that, wash fruit and vegetables before you eat them, especially if you’re eating them raw. Do not consume food that is past its expiry date, or drink unpasteurised milk.

“Do not reheat your food over and over, and do not store leftover food in the fridge too long. Listeriosis Monocytogenes can live in your fridge at temperatures as low as –4 degrees Celsius,” added Van Wyk.

A guide to foods which are safe and those at ‘higher risk’ of Listeria contamination …

Food Type:

1. Canned meat and fish

Precautions: Once opened, store in fridge, use within 12 hours

Food Type:

2. Cheese:
Soft cheese such as brie, camembert and ricotta
Spreads and processed cheese
Hard yellow cheese

Precautions: Ensure packaging is intact. Store in fridge

Food Type:

3. Cold meats (Roast or boiled)
Ready cooked (from supermarket, sandwich bars etc.)
Home cooked

Precautions: Use within 12 hours of cooking or freeze. Unused portions can be thawed in the fridge. Use immediately

Food Type:

4. Chicken:
Home cooked
Hot take-away chicken
Ready cooked, cold (whole or sliced)

Precautions: Cook thoroughly. Use immediately or store in fridge and use within 12 hours. Make sure it’s steaming hot when you buy it. Use immediately or store in fridge and use within 12 hours.

Food type:

5. Pate:
Ready-made (packaged or loose)

Food type:

6. Fruits and vegetables:
Leaf and root vegetables

Precautions: Wash all vegetables thoroughly

Food type:

7. Salads and dressings:
Ready-made (from salad bars, packaged, etc)

Precautions: Wash all vegetables thoroughly and store in fridge within 12 hours.

Food type:

8. Seafood:
Raw (oysters, sashimi or sushi)
Smoked (chilled or frozen)

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected]  (please remember to include your contact details in the email) or phone us on 011 693 3671.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites

Roodepoort Record

Krugersdorp News 

Get It Joburg West Magazine

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Maritza van Zyl

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