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Listeria outbreak could herald tighter food safety - Peter Ben Embarek

Listeria outbreak could herald tighter food safety - Peter Ben Embarek

South Africa

A leading health official has revealed the deadly listeria outbreak in South Africa could alter the country’s approach to food-borne disease and prompt improvements in food safety standards.

The World Health Organization’s global food safety specialist, Peter Ben Embarek likened the South African outbreak’s potential impact to the “mad cow disease” crisis in Europe that began in the 1980s and a vast E-coli outbreak traced to “Jack in the Box” burgers in the United States in 1993.

According to him “the listeria outbreak could be the crisis that will finally make at least South Africa – and possibly the whole of Africa – realise the importance of food safety and food-borne diseases and the need to invest in improving things.”

the listeria outbreak could be the crisis that will finally make at least South Africa - and possibly the whole of Africa - realise the importance of food safety and food-borne diseases and the need to invest in improving things.

At least 180 people have been killed in South Africa since January 2017 and almost 1,000 infected in the world’s worst recorded listeria outbreak.

Health authorities say the disease – which in severe cases can cause fatal bloodstream infections and meningitis – is likely to claim more victims before it is brought under control.

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