The Zimbabwean government has halted imports of a wide range of processed meat products from South Africa (SA) to prevent the spread of listeriosis.
Listeria has killed 180 people since breaking out in SA late last year. On Sunday, Health Minister Aaron Motswaledi identified a food processing plant in Polokwane and specific food products as the source of the disease.
Polony, Russian sausages, cold meats, ham, meat spreads, salami, pepperoni, corned meat and most refrigerated uncooked food were identified as the source of the infection.
“Until we are very clear that the outbreak is under control and that the specified food production plants have been certified free of infection, we will avoid the importation of those products. Should any products from the specified food production plants be found within our borders, they should be confiscated, quarantined and sent for destruction,” said Permanent Secretary in the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr. Gerald Gwinji.
Although no case of listeria has been reported in Zimbabwe, the Health Ministry urged the public to maintain vigilance against the disease, which largely affects people with a weakened immune system, the elderly and children aged 28 days and below.
Signs and symptoms of the disease include diarrhoea, headaches, high fever and muscle pains.