While we usually focus on food safety training in Minnesota and food-handling issues in the United States, the listeria outbreak in South Africa is too big of a news story to ignore. With a death toll around 200, this outbreak breaks records as the largest listeria case in the world.
A Food Safety Training Case Study and a South African Outbreak
Investigators have traced the source of this outbreak to a South African processed meat product called polony. The listeria bacterium found on the exterior casing of this meat product poses an incredibly high probability that other products have also become contaminated. The risk of cross-contamination from this outbreak prompted health officials to recommend that the residents of South Africa avoid consuming any ready-to-eat processed meat products. Between January and March, nearly 700 cases of infection from this strain have been confirmed, and this outbreak has a staggering 27-percent fatality rate.
It’s vital that we don’t simply write this outbreak off as happening in another country because it doesn’t affect food producers in Minnesota and the United States. This product may never be sold in our stores, but it should serve as a dire warning as to the consequences of a lack of food safety training, especially with something as preventable as listeria poisoning. Now could be a good time to review hand washing and equipment sanitation procedures with your staff since many cases of listeria begin with improper sanitation procedures.
Have you been following this major food safety story and has it impacted how you look at basic food handling training?