TANZANIA – Tanzania has formally lifted the ban on meat product imports from some specific processing facilities in South Africa following the outbreak of listeriosis declared in the country by the Minister of Health early last year.

A statement from the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) however indicated that imports from some factories associated with the outbreak of the deadly disease will not be allowed to export their meat products to Tanzania.

Those exempted include Enterprises Food Polokwane (ZA 33), Enterprise Foods Germiston (ZA 126) and RCL Foods Consumer-Chicken (ZA 32) linked to ST6 strain that caused one of the world’s worst Listeriosis scare.

According to the agency, inspection carried out showed that the products associated with the epidemic did not enter the Tanzanian market.

“TFDA has received reports from South Africa about measures taken by their regulatory authorities in response to the epidemic and assured us of safety of the meat and its products,” read the statement.

TFDA moved to ban meat imports from South Africa ON March 7 after which it embarked on inspection in the market to ensure the restricted products did not reach the customers for human consumption.

Their statement said that the inspected products did not show any sign of bacteria that cause the disease, which is associated with severe illness, including severe sepsis, meningitis, or encephalitis, sometimes resulting in lifelong harm and even death.

“Our findings show there is no presence of the bacteria that could cause the deadly outbreak in the country, therefore importation ban on meat and its products from South Africa is now lifted with effect from the date of this notice, 11 June 2018,” TFDA said.

After reports that nearly 1,000 people in South Africa had contracted listeriosis since January last year, African countries put a ban on meat imports from South Africa.

These included Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, eSwatini, and Zimbabwe.

Enterprise Foods factories in Polokwane and Germiston, owned by Tiger Brands, and RCL Foods’ Rainbow Chicken were identified as the source of the outbreak.

As a result, Tiger Brand reported losses of up to US$29 million in relation to the listeriosis outbreak.