The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is cautioning the general public of an outbreak of Listeriosis, a disease linked to ready-to-eat processed meat in South Africa. The authority is therefore notifying Ghanaians to avoid ready-to-eat meat products from South Africa, to reduce the risk of Listeriosis in the country. The FDA has also increased its market surveillance and monitoring of meat products imported from South Africa into the country.
This was contained in a public notice from the Food and Drug Authority signed by Mrs Delese A. A. Darko, Chief Executive Officer of the FDA.
Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes bacteria found in the environment. The bacteria survives with or without oxygen. Thus Listeria, unlike other germs, is able to survive and multiply in the cold temperature of a refrigerator. It is commonly found in water, soil, vegetation and faeces of some animals.
Foods that are more likely to be contaminated by the bacteria include raw milk, pasteurized fluid milk, cheeses (particularly soft ripened-varieties), ice cream, raw vegetables, fermented raw-meat sausages, raw and cooked poultry, raw meats (of all types), and raw and smoked fish.
With an incubation period of 6 hours to 70 days, the symptoms of Listeriosis include fever, aches, nausea diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and loss of balance and in pregnant women, flu-like illness.
Like other food-borne diseases, Listeriosis can be prevented by keeping food clean; separating raw and cooked food; cooking and reheating food thoroughly; keeping food at safe temperature; using safe water, and raw material. Most importantly, consumers should avoid eating ready-to-eat meat products such as sausages, bams, pates, and meat spreads.
The FDA is asking Ghanaians to report to them when they see any products from Enterprise Foods and Polokwane, South Africa (a subsidiary of the Tiger Brands Company) found on the Ghanaian market.
Reports can be made through the following numbers and social media platforms:
0800151000 (Toll free on Vodafone and Airtel only)
0299802932 or 0299802933 (Hotline)
4015 (SMS short code)
0206973032 (call and WhatsApp)
Facebook (Food and Drugs Authority.GH)