ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe is reported to have endorsed an import ban on cold meat products from South Africa, as the Listeriosis outbreak takes an elevation in SA.

Zimbabwe joins four other countries that have opted to either suspend imports of the products or make an immediate recall of the affected products with what they termed as ‘immediate effect’.

The South African countries’ decisions were prompted by reports that the South African meat manufacturer, Enterprise Foods was linked to Listeria monocytogenes ST6 strains.

Health officials said the source of the outbreak was an Enterprise Food plant in Polokwane.

These among them include Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.

In a report availed by the Herald Newspaper, the country through the health ministry had reinforced surveillance teams to monitor importation of such products into the country.

This was despite the fact that no Listeriosis cases had been reported in the country.

Gerald Gwiji, the permanent secretary in the ministry of health and child welfare said that government had tightened food surveillance at border posts.

“What makes this outbreak significant for us is that we do import quite significant food items, particularly cold processed foods into Zimbabwe from South Africa,” he added.

Since January 2017, 948 people in South Africa have contracted Listeriosis – a disease caused by bacteria from soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces which can contaminate fresh food, notably meat, a report by AFP said.