New safety guidelines loom for ready-to-eat food industry

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says several departments and regulators are currently reviewing the existing food control system.

FILE: Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN – New food safety guidelines for the ready-to-eat food industry are in the offing.

They come after a nationwide listeriosis outbreak earlier in 2018 that killed at least 180 people.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says until the listeriosis outbreak has completely been contained, a zero-tolerance approach is being adopted towards ready-to-eat meat products.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, the Health Minister says several departments and regulators are currently reviewing the existing food control system.

Motsoaledi says he wants them to recommend the best way to regulate food safety in the country.

A review of the National Health Act and the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act is underway to include reporting requirements for food testing.

Motsoaledi says the new guidelines will cover all food categories that are considered as ready to eat.

He says health professionals need to consider whether a zero-tolerance approach needs to be adopted towards the listeria bacteria, in light of new scientific research on its virulence and the current health status of the South African population.

Motsoaledi says once the review has been finalised, the proposed guidelines will be published for extensive consultation and comment.

WATCH: Source of deadly listeriosis outbreak found

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

Source: EWN

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