Kenya bans South African meat products over listeria scare


Kenya has banned the import and sale of processed meat products from South Africa due to a listeria outbreak that has killed at least 180 people.

Kenya is the first East African nation to ban the meat products from South Africa although various countries from elsewhere across the continent have also implemented bans following the outbreak.

Kenya bans South African meat products

Kenya’s ministry of health announced the ban on Tuesday which applies to the import and sale of processed meat products, such as sliced hams, frankfurter-style sausages and polony – a South African spin on baloney.

“In order to ensure the health of the public is protected and as a precautionary measure you are required to stop the importation and sale of these products,” the ministry wrote in a statement sent to health officers.

Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have also implemented bans on the meat products since the outbreak was first detected in January, 2017.

Listeria outbreak in South Africa

Officials say 948 people in South Africa have contracted listeriosis since January last year and at least 180 have died during the outbreak so far. The disease is caused by bacteria from soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces which contaminates fresh food – particularly meat and dairy products.

Unlike many forms of bacteria, listeria can survive in cold temperatures which make the production and storage of processed meat products especially vulnerable.

The World Health Organisation has said South Africa’s listeriosis outbreak is the largest ever recorded worldwide and the government has blamed meat companies in the country for failing to cooperate with investigators, which slowed down the process of determining the source of the disease.

Featured image: By We thank Nathan Reading for his invaluable contribution. – We thank Nathan Reading for his invaluable contribution., CC BY 2.0,

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.