Four months after the shock of over 200 people dying from Listeriosis in South Africa and the Enterprise Foods Polokwane factory having to be shut down, mountains of recalled processed meat is still being destroyed.
How do you get rid of what is equivalent to 3.6 million 1kg rolls of polony?! The meat is either being burnt in cement-making kilns or buried in hazardous landfill sites.
Sales of polony and viennas are reported to have dropped by 70% since March‚ while that of other processed meats are down by 50%. However, the danger is not over as the products have a long shelf life, may not all have been removed from stores and homes and could have contaminated other products on shelves or in fridges.
FOOD TRAVELS AROUND THE WORLD
The other problem is that in our modern world, the source of foodstuff and their ingredients can come from anywhere in the world!
Woolworths recently recalled its Frozen Savoury Rice as a precaution. The rice is sourced from Belgium and it contained frozen sweetcorn from the Greenyard Factory in Hungary, which was which has been implicated as a potential source of the Listeria outbreak in Europe.
Europe now has a battle to contain the foodborne bacteria. Nine people have died so far and the outbreak has spread across five European countries including the UK, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Austria.
In the USA, the Food Safety Modernization Act became law in 2011 whereby “everybody responsible for producing food should be doing what the best science says is appropriate to prevent hazards and reduce the risk of illness".
The programme also requires that importers know their foreign sources of supply (and their practices) and verify that suppliers are meeting US requirements.
However, they are faced with budget constraints and a lack of trained food inspectors. This is why educating the public is important as consumers also play a role in food safety.
FOLLOW THESE FOOD SAFETY RULES – BE AWARE TO STAY HEALTHY
Remember Listeriosis is a serious bacterial disease that can be found in soil, water and contaminated food. Follow these tips to prevent getting sick from Listeriosis.
1. Wash your hands – Before and after food preparation and always after you go to the bathroom. Use hot soapy water.
2. Watch what you eat – Avoid raw or unpasteurised milk, soft cheeses, ready-to-eat meats, pâtés, smoked fish products and food that has not been heated adequately.
3. Shop sensibly - Keep raw/processed meats and fish/seafood apart from other foods in your trolley or shopping basket and bag them separately from other foods.
4. Check the fridge - Make sure all foods that need to be in the fridge are stored there as soon as possible. Keep meat and fish away from raw vegetables and prepared food. Keep your fridge clean and do not leave any spillages to linger. Keep your fridge temperature to below 4°C and freezer temperature to below -18°C.
5. Wash up - Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods. Disinfect with bleach or sanitisers containing quaternary ammonia compounds and leave to air dry. Wash aprons and dishcloths regularly on a maximum heat setting.
6. Fruit and vegetables - Wash them thoroughly before eating.
7. Cook food thoroughly – Completely cook all meats and eggs. Reheat leftovers at no less than 74°C.
8. Read the label - Follow the instructions on food labels. Observe food expiration dates and storage conditions.
9. If in doubt, throw it out – if something is starting to go off, don’t take any risks, throw it away!
Be Aware; Be Healthy; Be Happy! From Mama Gogga