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Listeria Identified in Beef Products in the Republic of South Africa

Surveillance over the meat industry in South Africa was intensified following the 2017 outbreak of listeriosis that resulted in 1,065 confirmed cases and 218 fatalities,.  A survey conducted by the University of Pretoria, funded by Red Meat Research and Development Organization in South Africa demonstrated concerning levels of Listeria within packing plants and products.  Isolation of Listeria from beef products ranged from 6.0 to 9.3 percent in plants located in three provinces.  Contaminated products included ready-to-eat items, including polony (bologna), a protein staple in South Africa and the vehicle of infection in the 2017 outbreak and also in biltong (dry salted beef  strips). The field surveys showed that contamination occurred within packing plants and during further-processing of products.


Scientists involved in the study urged intensive measures to limit Listeria contamination to avoid a reoccurrence of the previous episode.

 Epicurve 2017 outbreak