South Africa: Listeriosis - DA Requests Joint Meeting of Health, Daff and Dti Committees

press release

The DA has written to the Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committees on Trade and Industry; Health and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to request an urgent joint sitting on the Listeriosis crisis.

On Sunday, the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, announced that Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken have been identified as the sources of the current Listeriosis outbreak. While traces of the Listeria bacteria have been identified at Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken factories, we still cannot be one hundred percent sure that the bacteria has been contained.

There still is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety among the public, as the entire process to find the source of the Listeriosis was long and vague.

This outbreak has claimed more than 180 lives and the total number of infections currently stand at more than 900. According to the World Health Organization, South Africa's Listeria outbreak is believed to be the largest-ever outbreak.

It is for this reason why the DA has requested this joint meeting, the public needs reassurance by all the relevant stakeholders will ensure that the Listeriosis outbreak will be addressed with the necessary urgency.

Minister Motsoaledi will also be making a statement in Parliament tomorrow and we urge him to us this opportunity to ease concerns and address the following key issues regarding the Listeria outbreak:

What plans are in place to dispose of the contaminated meats;

What measures have been implemented to monitor and contain the further spread of the of the bacteria;

Whether his department has rolled out public education campaigns at schools and venders;

Whether hospitals and clinics have contingency plans in place to adequately treat suspected cases of listeriosis; and

Pledge his commitment to find multi-departmental solutions.

The Minister needs to show decisive leadership and bring all the necessary role-players on board to fight this outbreak.

If the Departments of Trade and Industry, Health and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries fail to find urgent and holistic solutions to combat this outbreak, South Africa could potentially face serious financial implications, possible job losses; and potential food insecurity.

The DA has long maintained that there should be stricter guidelines for international food imports and that a national food control agency should be created in order to ensure the safety of South Africans.

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