KENYA – Kenya has banned importation and sale of cold processed meat from South Africa, after South Africa’s listeriosis scare which has led to 180 deaths since the outbreak.
Kepha Ombacho, the director of Public Health, has asked health officers in the counties and ports of entry to enforce the ban on meat and meat products from Enterprise Food Production Factory and Rainbow Chicken Limited.
The list of affected products includes Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle and Mieliekip and Polony, Russian and Viennas.
Dr Ombacho said the Department of Public Health was working closely with health officers across all counties to ensure effective execution of the directive.
He said that the ministry would dispose-of any processed meat products confiscated locally.
“We are notifying the public because this should concern everyone.
Processed meat from South Africa could be found in the upmarket shops or even kiosks,” said Dr Ombacho.
A spot check on some of the major supermarkets in Kenya including Tuskys, Naivas and Carrefour did not immediately yield a stocking of meat products from the South African suppliers.
Carrefour Kenya country manager Franck Moreau said the retailer did not have any direct dealing with the two companies as most of its suppliers are local.
“However, as a precautionary measure, we have contacted the Directorate of Veterinary Services, which issues licences to companies (suppliers) that import meat products to establishing if any of our suppliers may have any contacts with the affected companies,” said Mr Moreau.
Kenya’s directive follows similar actions in Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana have all suspended importation of meat from South Africa.
The listeria bacteria have so far claimed 180 lives in South Africa where at least 948 cases have been reported in since January 2017.
South Africa Health ministry has since issued public warnings asking citizens to avoid meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat.
“In order to ensure that the health of the public is protected and as a precautionary measure you are required to stop the importation and sale of these products in the market while at the same time recall those that are already on the market.
This information should also be shared with all retail outlets so that they do not place the products on their shelves for sale,” said Dr Ombacho in the statement.
Listeria poisoning is believed to have originated in a factory in the northern city of Polokwane, which makes Enterprise Food products.
The chief executive of Tiger Brands, which owns the Enterprise label, insisted that “no direct link” had been proved between its products and any of the 180 deaths.