The civil rights organisation AfriForum yesterday afternoon urgently requested the CEOs of the large fast-food restaurant chains and supermarket chain stores in South Africa via a letter to test their food against listeria by themselves before it is sold to consumers.
This step follows after the Department of Health still hasn’t announced an action plan after more than a week after the announcement of the serious listeria outbreak, even though they are busy with an investigation into it. Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, says that the most probable cause is the contamination of food – probably at farms and food processing plants.
This life-threatening bacterium already this year claimed the lives of approximately 36 people in South Africa from around 557 laboratory confirmed cases. The latter is apparently eight times higher than the annual amount of confirmed cases.
“We requested the various chain stores in writing to urgently take action to protect consumers against listeria as far as possible. Listeria can be treated provided that it is diagnosed early at a person. It can also be prevented if safety measures are taken. Chain stores are furthermore requested to keep consumers informed regarding listeria and preventative measures,” says Marcus Pawson, AfriForum’s Head of Environmental Affairs. The letter was also sent to Dr Motsoaledi.