Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi on Thursday told journalist in Lilongwe that his ministry has temporally banned the banned import and sale of certain South African processed meat products after a listeria outbreak that has reportedly killed at least 180 people.
Muluzi said the ban has been instituted because South Africa is one of the major meat and meat products suppliers in Malawi.
“Government of Malawi wishes to inform the business community and the general public that government has with immediate effect instituted a temporally ban on the importation of processed meat and meat products including polony, Vienna, sausages and cold meats from South Africa,” Muluzi said.
The Minister of Health said the ban is in accordance with the provision in the Public Health Act, Import Rule and Regulations under the Control and Diseases Act 66:02 and the Meat Products Act 67:02.
Muluzi said there is no need for the public to panic as government has put in place measures to avoid the outbreak from spreading locally and that it has the capacity to do laboratory confirmation of the disease and assured the treatment is available.
The disease is readily treatable with antibiotics.
The Malawi Competition and Fair Trading Commission asked wholesalers and retailers on Monday to remove imported meat products from South Africa from their shelves in the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak linked to a factory there.
Malawi’s moves come after Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia halted processed meat imports from South Africa, where 180 people have died in the worst listeriosis outbreak in recorded history.