Following a recent ban on processed meat from South Africa because of the listeria outbreak that has so far claimed 180 lives in that country, foods such as imported French polony have disappeared from local supermarkets.
In response to the ban local supermarkets stopped selling Russian sausages, viennas, cold meat, salami, pepperoni and most refrigerated uncooked imported food.
A survey carried by B-Metro at Pick n’ Pay, OK, Haddon and Sly, Greens Supermarket and Choppies revealed a strict adherence to the notice.
A manager with Haddon and Sly Onius Ncube said they were still selling tinned beef imported from South Africa because they stocked the foods last year.
“We still sell South African tinned beef because we imported it last year in July so we are just selling the last stock.
We only know that the Government banned the importation, if they also ban us from selling what we bought a long time ago we will remove it from the shelves,” he said.
Now that South African products are off the shelves it’s going to be a big pay day for local brands such as Colcom.
“My children love polony and they carry it to school. Although the South African one was relatively cheaper and nicer this is a time to develop a taste for the local brands. By the time the ban is lifted local products would have enjoyed some free run,” said Sikhangele Ncube, a shopper.
However, a local supermarket owner said even local brands will find it hard to sell because people are generally conscious when it comes to life and death.
Fears of listeria finding its way into Zimbabwe are there. If cross boarder transporters (omalayitsha) bring the foods locals who are not careful will eat poison.
A tuckshop operator from Cowdray Park, Nomathemba Mkhwananzi admitted to be stocking her shop with South African products. But since hearing about listeria, something she, at first thought was WhatsApp jokes, she has since stopped selling imported processed foods.
“I have also stopped. At first I thought it was all a joke because I saw memes on social media about it,” she said.
Listeriosis is food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) bacterium.
In pregnant women, the infection can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, serious infection of the newborn or even stillbirth.
Listeriosis affects mainly pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with impaired immune systems.
Healthy adults and children sometimes are infected with L. monocytogenes, but they rarely become seriously ill.
Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers eat contaminated food during pregnancy.