Listeria Update: Zambia resumes importation of ready-to-eat products from South Africa

By Oscar Nkala,

The Zambian government has lifted the ban on the importation of ready-to-eat food products from South Africa after exhaustive medical tests and investigations which concluded that there was no listeria threat in the country.

However foods and food products from Enterprise Foods Limited and Rainbow Enterprises Company – the two companies named as the sources of the listeria infection – remain banned from Zambia.

The blanket ban was imposed as part of public health safety precautions following the outbreak of listeria in South Africa. Like many African countries, Zambia imports more than half of its processed food requirements from South Africa.

Health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya said investigations have since determined that there were no listeria-causing monocytogenes in the food samples tested at government-commissioned laboratories.

“We therefore have decided to lift the ban on the importation of foods from South Africa with the exception of the risky foods from Enterprise Food Ltd and Rainbow Enterprises Company.”

In the meantime, existing disease surveillance measures will remain in place to guarantee public health and food safety. Zambia is one of several African countries which banned the importation of South African food products following the deadly listeria outbreak.