South African authorities have taken commendable steps to control the listeria outbreak and to step up local inspections. What is lacking are stringent measures to ensure that no contaminated meat is imported.
In a recent media statement the government enumerated a long list of actions that have been taken to manage the listeriosis outbreak, which, according to the World Health Organisation, is the biggest outbreak seen anywhere in the world. In every crisis situation it is important that lessons are learnt; when it is a matter of life or death it is critical.
It is commendable that the government has taken steps such as strengthening the National Health Laboratory Service's food testing capacity; and making a concerted effort to keep the public, especially the vulnerable groups, informed with accurate health information about the disease and its prevention.
According to the statement several steps have been taken to prevent the export of any contaminated meats to South Africa's trading partners abroad, including the rescinding by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the export...