'Listeriosis outbreak risks becoming another Life Esidimeni tragedy'

Officials from the various departments on Wednesday briefed Parliament on the outbreak and the recall of various meat products.

A view of the listeria bacteria. Picture: National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

CAPE TOWN – The listeriosis outbreak risks becoming another Life Esidimeni tragedy, in which more than 140 mental health patients died due to negligence.

This is the warning from Members of Parliament (MPs) who voiced their concerns during a joint meeting of the Departments of Trade and Industry, Health and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Officials from the various departments on Wednesday briefed Parliament on the outbreak and the recall of various meat products.

The listeria outbreak has claimed the lives of 180 people across the country.

Companies affected by the outbreak include Tiger Brands and Rainbow Chicken.

Parliament has highlighted the urgent need for the Department of Trade and Industry to develop norms and standards for all processed meat products to prevent future outbreaks.

MPs say the listeria outbreak is just the tip of the iceberg and that there are other foodborne diseases in South Africa that need attention.

African National Congress MP Nonhlanhla Ndaba said: “This is another Life Esidimeni and I’m becoming more worried when ARC has presented their research regarding where is this listeriosis found.”

The committee has resolved that after three months, both portfolio committees should sit again for a progress report and feedback from the three departments, including the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.