Dubai: The UAE is beefing up efforts to screen all South African meat products in response to a listeria outbreak, said the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on Wednesday.
The ministry has also suspended all meat imports from two South African meat-processing firms to protect UAE consumers from a documented listeria outbreak in South Africa.
Listeria is an invasive bacterium that causes illness and even death in humans through contaminated food.
“These measures are in response to the announcement made by official South African authorities tracing the deadly listeria outbreak to contaminated meat products from two manufactures: Tiger’s Enterprise Food and RCL Foods, whose food samples tested positive for the strain that was later found to be responsible for almost all the reported cases,” the ministry said in a statement.
Majed Mohammad Al Herbawi, Director, Food Safety Department at the ministry, said: “As part of the precautionary measures, the ministry released a circular informing Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority and municipal authorities in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah of the immediate suspension of food imports from these two manufactures, denying entry of their inbound shipments, and pulling the incriminated goods from local shelves. The Ministry also directed relevant local authorities to step up screening of South African meat and its products and ensure that only safe-to-consume meats are in the market.”
The ministry said it “is following closely on the investigations carried out by the official authorities in South Africa”.