Jean-Jacques Cornish

Source of deadly Listeriosis outbreak has been identified

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has identified the food factory that is the source of the world’s biggest listeria outbreak that has killed more than 180 South Africans.

Scientists have traced the food of origin of the strain of the 948 cases of listeriosis mostly in the most populous province of  Gauteng.

South Africa’s National Consumer  Commission has ordered the urgent recall of polony and smoked sausages from Enterprise’s Germiston factory and  vienna sausages from Rainbow chicken’s Wolwehoek plant.

This includes immediately removing and quarantine the named products from its sales channels and notifying all the trading partners and the appropriate authorities locally and internationally.

The commission urges consumers who have bought the products to quarantine them to avoid cross contamination and to return  them to the place of purchase for refund.

Listeria bacteria survives in fridges and an open pack of polony or sausages could contaminate other food nearby.

Immediately after Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s briefing yesterday, Pick n Pay and Checkers ,which are two  of the largest supermarkets in South Africa, announced the  removal the products that may be linked to the listeriosis outbreak from their stores.

The fridges and preparation areas where the food had been stored  would be thoroughly cleaned before being used again.

The contaminated meat would be safely destroyed.

The stores which have more than 3 000 outlets in South Africa say a broad range of retailers could be affected.


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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.