On Sunday 4 February Enterprise Foods received notification to recall Enterprise ready-to-eat product range. The company proactively amplified its testing for Listeria and can confirmed they found a low detection of a strain of listeria in some products on 14 February but the presence of the ST6 strain has not been confirmed by their tests.
A statement released ‘“Food safety remains the highest priority at Tiger Brands – where we always place consumers’ health and safety above all else. Therefore, we can confirm that we have, with immediate effect, undertaken a full national recall of the affected Enterprise ready-to-eat meat product range,” says Lawrence Mac Dougall, Chief Executive Officer at Tiger Brands.
“Since the confirmed outbreak of Listeriosis by the DoH in December 2017, we have amplified our testing for Listeria of both raw materials and finished goods and have also introduced additional hygiene monitoring of our processes, equipment, storage and waste areas at our facilities,” said Mac Dougall.
At the last DOH media briefing held on 08 January 2018, it was reported that a total of 727 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis had occurred since 01 January 2017. Of these 727 cases, there was final outcome data for 134 patients. This means that 134 actual patients were traced to their health facilities, i.e as to what eventually happened to them. Unfortunately, 61 of them had died.
As of 02 March 2018, a total of laboratory-confirmed cases have risen to 948, still counting from January 2017. Of these 948, a total 659 patients have been traced and 180 of them have unfortunately died. This constitutes 27% case fatality rate.
In the DOH constant search for the source of the outbreak and the treatment of people who are affected, a team from the NICD has interviewed 109 ill people to obtain details about foods they had eaten in the month before falling ill. Ninety three (85%) people reported eating ready-to-eat (RTE) processed meat products, of which polony was the most common followed by viennas/sausages and then other ‘cold meats’.
Many supermarkets released statements of their own, including popular Woolworths:
Listeriosis is food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) bacterium. In pregnant women, the infection can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, serious infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth. Listeriosis affects mainly pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with impaired immune systems.
What Causes Listeriosis?
L. monocytogenes is found in soil and water.
Vegetables can become contaminated from the soil or from manure used as fertilizer.
Animals can carry the bacteria and can contaminate meats and dairy products.
Processed foods, such as soft cheeses and cold cuts, can be contaminated after processing.
Unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk can be contaminated.
Symptoms of listeriosis include:
Fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur. But infected pregnant women may experience only a mild, flu-like illness.
If you experience any of these symptons, especially if you are pregnant, please consult your GP.