Following confirmation from the Ministry of Health in South Africa that the source of Listeria contamination and outbreak is processed meat, the Seychelles Public Health Authority has imposed a temporary ban on all ready-to-eat meat products imported from South Africa from Tuesday 6th March 2018.
All processed meat products imported from the country, namely polonies, hams and pre-cooked sausages are being removed from the local market. Importers of processed meat have been formally informed of the ban.
The ban will remain in force until further notice is given by the Seychelles Public Health Authority.
Additionally, the Public Health Authority set up a surveillance programme to test products that are already in the country. All tests done so far have not revealed listeria in any samples.
The Public Health Authority began monitoring the outbreak of Listeria in South Africa since it was declared several months ago. Regular updates have been provided via media outlets and Ministry of Health channels.
Listeriosis is mainly associated with consumption of contaminated Ready-To-Eat (RTE) foods. In line with food safety, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends following the ‘FIVE KEYS to SAFER FOOD’:
- Wash hands and surfaces before and during food preparation. Wash hands before and after meals
- Separate raw and cooked food, and don’t mix utensils and surfaces when preparing food
- Cook food thoroughly – all bacteria are killed above 70%°C
- Keep food at safe temperatures – Refrigerate food not being consumed immediately and reheat thoroughly,
- If kept in the fridge it should be consumed within a few days otherwise freeze below minus 18°C.
- Use safe water and safe ingredients to prepare food.
- When travelling to affected areas avoid eating uncooked food and if it is consumed raw, wash thoroughly with safe running water before consumption.