Minister of Health and Population Services, Atupele Muluzi, has said Malawi has found 23 meat products from South Africa which were recently recalled due to the emergence of listeriosis disease in that country.
The products, by Tiger Brands Unit plants known as Enterprise Food and RCL Ltd, were found during an inspection conducted by the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC).
The outbreak has affected more than 900 people, resulting in over 180 deaths in South Africa.
Speaking at a press conference in Lilongwe yesterday, Muluzi said CFTC conducted the inspection on Tuesday and Wednesday in shops in the cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu.
“I can report that 23 processed meat products from the concerned company were found. These include polony, viennas, sausages, cold meats and cheese. I can confirm that these products have since been removed from the shelves and will be destroyed,” he said.
Muluzi said officials in his Ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Malawi Bureau of Standards and CFTC are working together on the issue.
He, however, emphasised that there has been no case of listeriosis in Malawi.
“Some of the recalled meat products such as polony, viennas, sausages and cold meat may have been exported to Malawi for sale across the country.
However, to date, no case of listeriosis has been recorded in Malawi. In the event that Malawi records a case of listeriosis, we are fully prepared with the necessary treatment and we have the capacity to do laboratory confirmation of the disease,” Muluzi said.
He highlighted that the government has banned the importation, distribution and consumption of processed meat products produced by Tiger Brands Unit – Enterprise Foods and RCL Foods from South Africa, one of the major suppliers of processed meat products to Malawi.
Listeriosis is caused by eating foods contaminated with the listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The disease affects pregnant women, new-borns, the elderly and adults with impaired immune systems. Healthy adults and children sometimes are infected with listeria monocytogenes but they rarely become seriously ill.
Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches and, sometimes, nausea or diarrhoea. If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur.
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