Measures to deal with Listeria contaminated waste

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa has assured South Africans that all food products contaminated with Listeria will be safely disposed of. 

Last Sunday, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced that the source of Listeriosis had been traced to ready-to-eat processed meat products from Enterprise Foods.

The minister warned that processed meat products such as polony, viennas, russians, frankfurters, sausages and cold meat products were listed as no go zones.

Minister Molewa expressed a concern that the recall had caused some panic where residents ended up throwing their food products into their normal domestic waste bins, and this ended up on municipal landfills.

She said this took place before the announcements from outlets that food products could be brought into the various outlets across the country.

“As we know, with the high levels of waste picking in the country, we could have waste pickers accessing the contaminated food if this food ends up in waste disposal facilities accessible to this group of vulnerable people,” Minister Molewa said. 

Minister Molewa announced that she has put in place measures to deal with the disposal of contaminated waste.

The measures put in place are:

  • The contaminated waste may be accepted for treatment at a licensed incineration, non-burn or co-processing facility, or may be accepted for disposal at a Class A landfill.  Class A landfills are specially designed and engineered for acceptance of hazardous waste and are not accessible for waste picking.
  • Any condition of the respective waste management licence of the receiving facility that may prohibit receipt of such waste will be suspended until such time as all of this waste has been treated and/or disposed of.

The Minister said these measures will ensure that there is enough capacity in the country to timeously dispose of the infected waste, and remove the possibility of the infected waste being accessed through waste picking activities.

“I believe the measures we have taken will ensure that the constitutional right of our people to a safe and healthy environment is protected,” Minister Molewa said.

She added that waste treatment and disposal facilities have been made aware of these measures, as well as provincial and municipal authorities.

Meanwhile, National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says eight additional Listeriosis cases have been reported in the past week.

“Since the last situational update on 3 March 2018, 11 additional cases that occurred in 2017 have been identified through laboratory review, and eight additional cases have been reported to the NICD over the last few days,” said the NICD in its situation report on the Listeriosis outbreak released on Thursday. –


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