As you are undoubtedly aware of the recent outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa, there is a lot of news on what Listeriosis is and how to prevent it from happening, and there is a lot generic information being shared.

Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning (Listeriosis) is a very serious disease and we urge you to ensure good food safety practices in your kitchens.

As you would have probably read or heard, Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in foods such as processed meats (viennas, polony etc.), dairy products, salads and other cold ready to eat foods. Please be careful in handling these foods. Please ensure that you consume these types of foods as soon as possible and ensure they are not used passed their expiry date.

We test a large number of foods on a daily basis, and we are also detecting Listeria monocytogenes regularly in raw chicken too. Raw chicken must be handled with care, and must be cooked thoroughly. Please ensure that you clean and sanitise all areas and equipment after preparing chicken and keep raw chicken away from other types of food.

Listeria monocytogenes can be found in your kitchen in areas such as the floor drain and cooling units of the cold room, and not only from meats, vegetables, and dairy. This bacterium is able to survive and grow in cold temperatures, and so we need to be extra cautious.

 

What can you do to help prevent Listeriosis?

 

  • Ensure that you follow all the recommended practises as specified in your FCS Hygiene Audits.
  • Check your latest Corrective Action Report and make sure you have corrected all the critical and major issues.
  • Any slicers or food processors MUST be dismantled and cleaned and sanitised after each use!!
  • Wash out and disinfect all floor drains. Make sure that you clean and disinfect floor drains on a regular basis.
  • Clean and sanitise the cooling units of the cold rooms (switch off the units first).
  • Ensure proper food segregation (Raw meats separate from ready-to-eat). Please be especially careful with raw chicken.
  • Be careful of cross-contamination during production.
  • Ensure effective cleaning and sanitising at all times. Use the chemicals correctly and don’t just wipe with damp cloths.
  • Wash hands and equipment thoroughly between handling and preparation of these foods. Tell staff by washing their hands, they will not only be keeping the guests safe, but also keeping themselves and their families safe too.
  • Maintain good food temperature control at all times. Hot foods >65degC and cold foods below 5degC.

The national health department is still running the investigation of this outbreak, and the source of this contamination has still not yet been identified.

Please speak to your staff about the seriousness of this outbreak, and maintaining good hygiene and food safety practices.