Death toll from listeria outbreak rises to 204

Published May 17, 2018


JOHANNESBURG - The death toll from the

world's largest ever outbreak of the food-borne disease listeria

has risen to 204, but the number of new cases has declined

sharply after products were recalled, South African authorities

said on Thursday.

The health department recalled processed meat products known

as "polony", after the source of the outbreak was traced to a

factory owned by Tiger Brands unit Enterprise Foods in

March resulting in a class action lawsuit filed against the


"Since identification of the source of the outbreak and

recall of implicated products, the number of cases of listeria

has declined drastically," the Department of Health and the

Department of Agriculture said in a joint statement.

The number of cases reported has risen to 1,033, the

National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.

But the number reported per week had decreased to an average

of 6.4 since March 5, after the products were recalled, compared

with 24.9 previously, it said.

READ: #Listeriosis outbreak toll hits 180, says Motsoaledi

The government said it would review its food safety

legislation and would hold a consultative meeting regarding

compulsory specifications for processed meat.

"Risk profiling of food processing premises is under way 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," the departments

of health and agriculture said.

Listeria is a bacterium found in soil, water and vegetation.

People can be infected through animal products and fresh fruit

and vegetables. 


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