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Latest updates on SA’s deadly listeria outbreak

The catastrophic listeriosis outbreak is all but over, but it’s still in the news. As of June 21, 2018, a total of 1,053 cases and 212 deaths from all provinces across the country were reported by the NICD since January 1, 2017. Here are historic and latest updates and news on the outbreak, and much more…..

1,053 cases have been reported from 01 January 2017 to 20 June 2018. The number of new cases reported each week has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018.


Tiger Brands may never know how deadly listeriosis strain entered its factory

Tiger Brands may never know how a strain of bacteria linked by the government to the world’s deadliest outbreak of listeriosis entered its South African factory.


What to do with millions of dodgy polonies?

So now we know what South Africa’s not-fit-for-consumption polony is good for – cement-making.


Tiger Brands seeks new food safety standard

Tiger Brands wants the government to establish a new food safety and hygiene standard, as well as a food safety council, said its CEO, Lawrence MacDougall…..



NICD situation update on listeriosis outbreak, South Africa 21 May

24 May 2018

1 034 laboratory confirmed cases have been reported from 01 January 2017 to 10 May 2018. The number of reported cases per week has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018 with a total of 64 cases reported since 5 March 2018 (average 6.4 cases/week)

Listeriosis: Meat sector bleeds

18 May 2018

South Africa’s processed meat industry has shed about 2000 jobs while bleeding R800 million monthly as safety concerns following the outbreak of listeriosis sent the prices and demand for ready-to-eat meats tumbling.

Better governance can enhance an inclusive and just food system in South Africa

16 May 2018

Food security and food safety do not feature strongly in the laws, policies, and programmes of most municipalities in South Africa.Where it does, it is mostly concentrated on food production, rather than facilitating access to safe food.

NICD situation update on listeriosis outbreak, South Africa 14 May

15 May 2018

1 033 laboratory confirmed cases have been reported from 01 January 2017 to 10 May 2018, and there have been 204 deaths. The number of reported cases has decreased since the implicated products were recalled on 04 March 2018.

Listeria Prevention Presentation Pack

03 May 2018

 The team at FoodFocus.co.za recently hosted Listeria workshops, as did SAAFoST. They say the events added much value to the delegates, and after being inundated with requests for the presentations and videos, they’ve now made most of them available, FREE!

Industry response to Listeriosis outbreak: clean, clean, clean!

02 May 2018

One of the primary reactions to the current Listeriosis outbreak has been to clean, clean, clean… and rightly so. But given the effort and expense it takes to clean, it is essential that cleaning is undertaken in the correct way to ensure the maximum benefit.


Listeriosis outbreak situation report 27 April

01 May 2018

The number of laboratory confirmed cases is dropping: as of 24 April 2018, a total of 1 024 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 January 2017, and 200 deaths have been confirmed.

Leading food safety lawyer commends Tiger Brands for transparency

Acknowledgement that listeriosis outbreak came from its factory earns praise from Bill Marler, leading US-based food safety attorney.


Tiger Brands testing confirms the presence of listeria ST6 strain in their product

26 April 2018

Test results are conclusive: on 24 April, Tiger Brands announced to shareholders that they had received confirmation of the presence of LST6 in the samples from their Enterprise Polokwane processing facility, which had been sent for independent re-testing.

Today’s Listeriosis news wrap: Govt points fingers at meat firms; cases breach 1,000; epidemic declines and hygienic design courses

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said yesterday that the companies which produce processed meat have the resourced labs to test products and should be held responsible for the listeriosis outbreak.


NICD categorically confirms the source of the listeriosis outbreak

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says it is concerned about recent developments and statements, supposedly released as facts into the public domain, about the listeriosis outbreak. Here is its full statement…


Today’s Listeriosis news wrap: Listeriosis deaths hit 189, class action launched, WHO weighs in

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced on Thursday [29 March] that the death toll in the listeriosis outbreak has climbed to 189 – up six deaths from its last update.


Today’s Listeriosis news wrap: Free advice for Tiger Brands’s CEO who now says sorry, damning regulatory gaps, slamming opportunistic advertising

Free advice to a food company CEO during a listeria outbreak – specifically Tiger Brands – Enterprise CEO, Lawrence MacDougall,  from Bill Marler, top US food safety expert and litigator…


Listeriosis outbreak could cost Tiger Brands R800m

In addition to the cost of closing factories, including its Pretoria plant now, and recalling products, the food producer also faces class-action lawsuits…


Today’s listeriosis news wrap: The problem with Tiger Brands, RCL ‘cleared’, more deaths feared

How is it that the food company’s rivals, like AVI, don’t seem to always find themselves in the dock for apparently breaking the rules, asks Business Day editor, Rob Rose, in this scathing editorial?


Three major mistakes Tiger Brands made in response to the listeriosis crisis

Tiger Brands, the South African food giant at the centre of the listeriosis storm engulfing the country, is facing serious brand erosion as a result of the way it handled the unfolding crisis.


Today’s listeriosis news wrap: lawsuits, cheap protein, a villainous bacteria

The fallout from the listeriosis outbreak continues – here’s an agglomeration of many articles, Tweets and links published over the past few days….


Bill Marler speaks on the listeriosis outbreak in South Africa

Bill Marler, renowned American food safety expert and litigator, shared two presentations with food industry professionals at the Food Focus listeria workshop on March 8, 2018. FoodFocus chatted with him about his visit to South Africa, his thoughts on the listeriosis outbreak and what this will mean for the food industry.


Food safety perspectives on the world’s worst listeriosis outbreak in SA

South Africa has had the biggest listeriosis outbreak in the world that resulted in more than 180 deaths to date. The Conversation Africa’s health editor, Candice Bailey, spoke to Prof Lise Korsten about the challenges around food safety in the country.


Today’s listeriosis news wrap: making a scapegoat of Tiger Brands?

Leading this collation of stories gathered from SA media and Twitter is the Financial Mail’s questioning this: Motsoaledi says the source has been found, but Tiger Brands’ test results show ‘low levels’ of environmental listeria: who’s to be believed?


Hearing from the listeriosis victims

As the listeriosis story has moved up the ladder from low rung to hysteria, there has been little heard from those most affected – the victims and their families. Consumer journalist, Wendy Knowler put this to rights this week, giving a slice of the human pain in this tragedy, with an interview of two families…


“When you’re in the food business, how can anything possibly outweigh killing your customers?” Today’s top listeriosis news stories

EDITORIAL: BizNew.com’s Alec Hogg writes today….

Tiger Brands is embroiled in a scandal which makes its debilitating bread cartel shock of 2007 look like a picnic. On Sunday afternoon, South Africa’s Department of Health said 180 people had died from Listeriosis. It has definitively linked the bacteria to products made at Tiger’s meat processing factory in Polokwane.


No link yet between deaths and our products, says Tiger Brands CEO

Tiger Brands CEO, Lawrence MacDougall, says there is no direct link at this moment between the deaths of 180 people infected with the listeriosis outbreak and the products from its Enterprise subsidiary.


Twitter erupts on finding of  listeriosis source

Yesterday’s announcement uncovering the culprit, at least one of them, behind SA’s tragic listeriosis outbreak has seen a flood of informative and interesting reaction on Twitter….


Deadly Listeriosis outbreak traced to Enterprise meat factory in Polokwane

Polony and products from an Enterprise Foods factory in Polokwane‚ Limpopo‚ are a source of the world’s largest outbreak of listeria, while RTE products from a RCL facility are also under scrutiny. Enterprise is part of Tiger Brands which last year booked R2.2bn in its ‘value-added meat products’ division.


NICD situation update on listeriosis outbreak, South Africa, 27 Feb

 A total of 945 cases have been reported since 1 January 2017, with 30 additional cases recorded since the last update (20 February 2018).
  • Outcome at the end of hospitalisation is known for an additional 18 cases, bringing the total with known outcome to 635/945 (67%) patients. 176 (19%) patients are known to have died.
  • At present, the source of the outbreak is not known, although progress is being made in each area of the investigations listed below.

‘Strong lead’ in South African Listeria outbreak – WHO

13 February 2018

The lack of knowledge on the source of the Listeria outbreak in South Africa is ‘of concern’ but a ‘strong lead’ – between human cases and a food item with laboratory results pending – is being investigated, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).


Researching ways to prevent more Listeria deaths

13 February 2018

As the death count in South Africa’s listeriosis outbreak rises, Canadian researchers are isolating bacteria from the microbiome of exotic foods to try to develop a solution.


NICD situation update on listeriosis outbreak, South Africa 6 Feb

06 February 2018

The outbreak continues, with 32 additional cases recorded since the last update (25 Jan). Outcome data is now available for 42% (355/852) of cases, of which 30% (107/355) died. The source of the outbreak is still not known.

NICD Situation Report on Listeriosis Outbreak, South Africa (25 Jan)

25 January 2018

53 additional cases of listeriosis recorded since 17 January 2018 – yet the source of the outbreak is still not known. EHPs are systematically inspecting and sampling of meat & poultry production, processing, and packaging facilities.

Webinar Listeria and the Law

24 January 2018

South Africa’s listeriosis outbreak has now topped the charts as the largest outbreak in history. So we once again chatted with our resident Legal Eagle, Janusz Luterek on the legal aspects of this for the food industry.

Press Release: The listeriosis outbreak and what government is doing

18 January 2018

The NICD does surveillance for all communicable disease across South Africa, including Listeria. The NICD works closely with the National Department of Health, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on outbreak investigations.

NICD Situation Report on Listeriosis Outbreak, South Africa (16 Jan)

17 January 2018

As of 16 January 2018, a total of 767 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD. Of these there have been a total of 81 deaths.

7 steps to prevent Listeria in food facilities

16 January 2018

7 Steps that food processors and the agri sector should take to prevent (and eliminate) Listeria in Food Facilities address the spread of listeria, Mr Mooketsa Ramasodi (DAFF)

Control of Listeria monocytogenes – guidance for the food industry

15 January 2018

Food processors must follow an integrated approach in order to prevent proliferation of listeria in the final product. Stepwise effective pathogen control is needed at all stages in the food chain.  

NICD media release – update on Listeria (12 Jan)

13 January 2018

Johannesburg, 12 January 2018. As of 12 January 2018, a total of 748 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 January 2017. Final outcome data are available for 160 of the patients, of whom 67 have died.

World Health Organisation 5 Keys to Safer Food

12 January 2018

The Department of Health recommends adherence to the World Health Organisation’s Five Keys to Safer Food in the fight against listeria in South Africa. You can view them here.

Further unpacking listeriosis – Food Focus speaks at the National Press Club media briefing

12 January 2018

Food Focus addressed members of the press at the National Press Club media briefing, discussing the listeria outbreak and the role of the private sector.  

Multi-country outbreak of Listeria in the EU

11 January 2018

South Africa is not the only country experiencing issues with Listeria monocytogenes. Europe has been experiencing a multi-country outbreak since 2015. Like us, they did whole genome sequencing to identify the strain, and like us theirs is an ST6 strain.

Situation Report on Listeriosis Outbreak, South Africa (3 Jan)

04 January 2018

As of 03 January 2018, a total of 717 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported since 01 January 2017. At present, the source of the outbreak is not known, so it is uncertain which food/s may be implicated. Cases of listeriosis will continue to be investigated. Read more

Source of listeriosis outbreak not confirmed (NICD)

02 January 2018

The listeriosis outbreak in South Africa is ongoing. At present, the source of the outbreak is not known, so it is uncertain which food/s may be implicated. Cases of listeriosis will continue to be investigated, with trace back and further investigation of any positive food/enviromental… Read more

Health department takes action on positive listeria results

30 December 2017

Nearly a month after Aaron Motsoaledi, the South African Minister of Health, formally announced to the country that we were in the throes of a listeriosis outbreak, we have finally has a further announcement from the department of health. Read more

Press Release DOH: Origin of contaminated listeria food samples identified

30 December 2017

Gauteng Health calls on the public and private sector to cooperate with Environmental Health Officers in contact tracing following affirmative food samples from a positive Listeriosis patient. “The origin of the contaminated food samples has been traced to a shop located in Pretoria…  Read more

Situation Report on Listeriosis Outbreak, South Africa

28 December 2017

As of 27 December 2017, a total of 685 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 January 2017. 61% of cases were reported from Gauteng Province, 13% from the Western Cape, and 7% from KwaZulu-Natal.  Read more

Situation Report on Listeriosis Outbreak, South Africa

22 December 2017

As of 21 December 2017, a total of 658 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 January 2017. Read more

Situation Report on Listeriosis Outbreak, South Africa

19 December 2017

As of 19 Dec 2017, a total of 647 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have been reported to NICD since 01 Jan 2017. Listeriosis is now a category 1 notifiable medical condition, and as such requires immediate reporting by the most rapid means available upon diagnosis. Read more

Listeriosis kills 5 in drought-stricken Western Cape

18 December 2017

Listeria has claimed five lives in the Western Cape, which is in the grips of a relentless drought, making the fight against the foodborne disease ever more challenging.  Read more

Webinar Listeria and the Law

08 December 2017

If you missed our webinar with Legal Eagle, Janusz Luterek, discussing the legal ramifications of listeria, you can watch the replay here.  Read more


Listeria and the law – what you need to know

08 December 2017

The media channels have been flooded with the disturbing news of the Listeria outbreak. We took the opportunity to chat to Janusz Luterek, Attorney-at-law about the legal implications of this outbreak. Read more


City of JHB outbreak response teams to help battle listeriosis

07 December 2017

Johannesburg – The City of Johannesburg says it has activated outbreak response teams across the city to “help educate the public” on preventing the spread of listeriosis, a disease that has thus far claimed over 30 lives. Read more


Listeria Factsheet

05 December 2017

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) is reporting a very large outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa. Here are some facts that you should know. Read more


Listeria Outbreak South Africa Dec 2017

05 December 2017

There is currently a very large outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa. According to the National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD), over 550 cases reported since the start of 2017. (Dec 2017) Read more


Spike in Listeria infections in South Africa – why it matters

07 November 2017

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has received reports of a marked increase in the number of cases in South Africa in the last few months, mostly in Gauteng. The stats are now sitting at 190 confirmed cases across the country this year. Read more


Listeria hysteria

15 May 2017

There was a great response to our recent article on Listeria. Needless to say it has been a very topical issue in the last two months. We have done a lot of research on how to eradicate the problem and have come across some great resources to share with you. Read more


Listeria, what should I know?

03 April 2017

Over 80 years ago, L. monocytogenes was recognized as an animal pathogen that was widespread in nature, in soil, decaying vegetation and the bowels of many mammals. But in 1983 the first human outbreak was reported in Canada, proving that indirect transmission from animals to humans. Read more

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