Listeriosis: Health, DAFF and DTI admits primary source of outbreak still unknown
28 March 2018
The Departments of Health (DoH); Trade and Industry (DTI) and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have admitted to Parliament today that the primary source of the Listeriosis outbreak is still unknown.
As per the DA's request, the Departments briefed a joint-sitting of the Portfolio Committees on Health; Trade and Industry and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Parliament today on the progress that has been made to contain the further spread of the of the Listeria bacteria.
Although traces of the bacterium has been found at Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken facilities, the Departments have today confirmed the DA suspicions that Rainbow and Enterprise factories are a source but not the primary sources of the outbreak.
It is now apparent that the government seems to be blaming bureaucratic processes and has opted for prematurely scapegoating Enterprise and Rainbow because it does not have proper emergency plans in place to contain this outbreak.
More than 180 people have already lost their lives and there are over 900 more confirmed cases. We need urgent plans to prevent further loss of life.
The DA has today called on Government to implement the following measures to prevent another outbreak in the future and to ensure food safety for all South Africans:
- Interim norms and standards need to be adopted urgently to ensure that the outbreak is contained and industries can be reopened against these standards. This will get the ball rolling on permanent regulations for all animal products and the processed food industry;
- Permanent standards and regulations must be instituted for Trade and Agriculture and other food industries as well as proper mechanisms for testing of live animals and animal products; and
- An over-arching independent body must be instituted to regulate and monitor food safety and security in the country, as there are currently too many bodies with no specific mandate.
It was also revealed at the meeting today that the country currently has a major shortage of Environmental Health Practitioners at Municipal level. Government has dismally failed our people by not having food industry safety standards in place.
The DA implores on the Departments of Health, DAFF and DTI to implement these measures urgently to prevent any further preventable loss of lives.
Issued by Patricia Kopane, DA Shadow Minister of Health, 28 March 2018