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Listeriosis outbreak: What you need to know

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Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has announced that government has narrowed down the sources of the deadly listeriosis outbreak in South Africa.

So how does this affect you and what should you do to prevent falling victim?

Here's what we know so far and what you can do.

Who are the companies affected?
Motsoaledi said the recent outbreak was traced to Enterprise's Polokwane facility. Lawrence MacDougall, Chief Executive Officer at Tiger Brands, said they had suspended operations at that facility and its Germiston facility. Listeria was also traced to a Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State, but further tests were needed as the sequence type was not yet known.

How was it traced?
Motsoaledi announced that the disease was traced after several children presented with gastroenteritis in Soweto earlier in the week. Tests were done, and it was found that they had listeriosis.

What have RCL and Tiger brands said?
RCL foods said it suspended all production of its polony brand at the Wolwehoek processing plant following the announcement by Motsoaledi. It is also recalling all of its polony brands.

MacDougall said Tiger Brands had suspended operations at both Enterprise manufacturing facilities in Polokwane and Germiston and the group has halted supply to trade. He said they had contacted all customers to confirm that recalled products were removed from store shelves.

Recall from food retail giants
Pick n Pay and Shoprite on Sunday said they would withdraw Enterprise and Rainbow food products following an announcement on listeriosis by government. In addition, all ready-to-eat products such as polony and Russian sausages manufactured at the Rainbow facility in Sasolburg were also being withdrawn.

What to look out for
Motsoaledi said polony was a definite source of the disease. However, he warned that products such as Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, other sausages and cold meats not typically cooked could also be affected due to the risk of cross contamination.

What to do with your products
The public have been advised to remove any Enterprise ready-to-eat products from their fridges and place them in a plastic bag away from other products. Keeping them among other products could cause cross contamination.

How many have died
The outbreak of listeriosis is one of the largest in the world, claiming 180 lives to date. 

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