‘TIS the season to be merry where lots of food will be prepared and enjoyed with loved ones. As a result, the City of Ekurhuleni urges residents to practise precautionary measures when preparing food.
This comes after the National Health Department announced the listeriosis outbreak throughout the country last week. Listeriosis is food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria Monocytogenes bacterium. The bacterium is found in vegetation, soil, water and some animals, including poultry and cattle.
It can also be found in raw milk and food made from raw milk. Through cooking and pasteurisation it can be killed.
The following precautionary measures should be taken to prevent the disease:
- No drinking raw (unpasteurised) milk or eating food with unpasteurised milk in them;
- Wash hands, knives, countertops and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods;
- Rinse raw vegetables thoroughly before eating;
- Keep uncooked meat, poultry and seafood separate from vegetables, fruit, cooked food and ready-to-eat food;
- Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources – such as meat, poultry or seafood to a safe internal temperature.
- Heat hot dogs, cold cuts and deli meats before eating them.
Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as a headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions can occur.
Seek medical help should you experience any of these symptoms after consuming unpasteurised foods.
*Supplied by Themba Gadebe, spokesperson for the City of Ekurhuleni.
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