The Minister said following the recall of the processed meat products by health authorities in South Africa, various stakeholders from different ministries, Malawi Bureau of Standards and the Competition and Fair Trading Commission met in Lilongwe on the 6th of March to consider the matter and decide on the way forward.
He said during the meeting it was noted that the recalled meat products were the main cause of a bacterial disease known as Listeriosis. Some of the recalled meat products such as Polony, Viennas, Sausages and Cold Meats may have been exported to Malawi for sale across the country.
“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,” said Muluzi.
The Health Minister added that Malawi Government has put in place a lot of measures to prevent the possible risk to consumers becoming infected. He cited the ban on the importation, distribution and consumption of processed meat products produced by Tiger Brand Unit - Enterprise Foods and RCL Foods from South Africa. The company is one of the major suppliers of processed meat products to Malawi.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that the listerosis outbreak in South Africa has affected more than 900 people resulting in over 180 deaths.
Early this month the South African Health Minister announced the recall of processed meat products produced by Tiger Brands Unit plants known as Enterprise Food and RCL Ltd.
Listeriosis is a disease caused by eating foods contaminated with the listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Listeriosis affects pregnant women, newborn children, the elderly, and adults with impaired immune systems.
Healthy adults and children sometimes are infected with listeria monocytogenes, but they rarely become seriously ill. Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers eat contaminated food during pregnancy.
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.