The civil rights organisation AfriForum condemned the government’s decision to abandon listeriosis tests at the country’s ports.
A letter recently surfaced in which Aneliswa Cele, Head of Environmental Health and Port Health Services, instructed to abandon these tests. In this letter it is argued that Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, already identified inland processing plants as the source of contamination.
“There are still so many unanswered questions regarding the recent epidemic, which is the biggest listeriosis outbreak ever recorded in the world. Polony consists of various ingredients, of which many enter the country via ships. Government’s decision is a premature step and all foreign food products entering the country still need to be tested, while further inland tests also need to be done,” says Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor for Community Affairs at AfriForum.
Brink says it is still not clear how the listeriosis contamination at the Enterprise plant in Polokwane originated. A lot of research still needs to be done in this regard.
“Points of sale also continuously need to be better monitored and researched, while polluted water may also be an extremely likely source of contamination. The Minister of Health himself admits that his Department has a shortage of approximately 3 000 health inspectors, which means that there are many points where contamination can take place.”
AfriForum is already busy testing the quality of drinking water and effluent and will in future also test for listeriosis in water.