LONDON -- As reported by Reuters, a huge and deadly outbreak of listeria in South Africa could alter the country’s approach to food-borne disease and prompt improvements in food safety standards, a leading health official said on Friday.
The World Health Organization’s top specialist on global food safety likened the South African outbreak’s potential impact to the “mad cow disease” BSE crisis in Europe that began in the 1980s and a vast E-coli outbreak traced to “Jack in the Box” burgers in the United States in 1993.
“I’m convinced we’re going to be talking about this outbreak for the next 20 years,” Peter Ben Embarek, who manages the WHO International Food Safety Authorities Network, told Reuters.
“This could be the crisis that will finally make at least South Africa - and possibly the whole of Africa - realize the importance of food safety and food-borne diseases and the need to invest in improving things.”
At least 180 people have been killed in South Africa since January last year and almost 1,000 infected in the world’s worst recorded listeria outbreak.
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