Cooking or heating meat products kills listeria bacteria - food safety expert

The Health Department has warned the public to avoid all processed meat products, not only those produced by Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken.

This comes after scientists traced the source of the present outbreak of listeriosis to an Enterprise Foods facilities and a Rainbow Foods facility.

At least 180 people have died from the disease since January 2017 and over 940 cases have been reported so far.

Most major retailers are removing ready-to-eat-meat products from their shelves and are encouraging customers to return processed meats to retailers for refunds.

Retailers Woolworths and Pick 'n Pay say their own house brands have been affected by the outbreak.

Read: Pick n Pay house brand affected by Enterprise-linked listeriosis

International food safety expert Dr Lucia Anelich says the foodborne pathogen has the ability to hide, despite regular testing and hygiene measures in food facilities.

Also read: Woolies lists its recalled meat products in listeriosis outbreak

Dr Anelich advises households that cooking or heating up meat products can kill the deadly bacteria.

However, keeping hazardous meat products in the refrigerator poses the risk of contaminating other foods.

If you have a russian, vienna or frankfurter, you must heat it up to a minimum of 70 degrees.

Dr Lucia Anelich, food safety expert

Throwing the product in the bin is something I would not advocate.

Dr Lucia Anelich, food safety expert

You dump it [the cold meat] into boiling water for a few minutes, and your product should be fine to eat. Cooking does kill the organism.

Dr Lucia Anelich, food safety expert

You could be swabbing your environment and you might not find it [listeria], but it doesn't mean it isn't there.

Dr Lucia Anelich, food safety expert

Unfortunately, listeria monocytogenes has a knack of hiding away in tiny microscopic crevices.

Dr Lucia Anelich, food safety expert

Take a listen to Dr Lucia Anelich's advise:

Meat science professor Louw Hoffman says the waste of non-contaminated cold meats will be unfortunate.

I think it's sad that we are going to be destroying a lot of meat and meat products that does not necessarily contain the bug or bacteria. But that's one of the safety precautions that need to be taken.

Prof Louw Hoffman, professor in meat science at Stellenbosch University

It's not to say all Enterprise viennas and polony will be contaminated but, as a precaution, they are withdrawing everything until they've done the tests.

Prof Louw Hoffman, professor in meat science at Stellenbosch University

Take a listen to Prof Louw Hoffman explain:


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