The government has banned the importation of processed meats from South Africa following a listeria outbreak that has so far claimed more than 180 lives and affected thousands more in that country.

Other countries in the region have also taken similar measures to curb the spread of the disease, while some have even gone further and banned the importation of dairy products, vegetables and fruits from South Africa.

Mozambique and Namibia have stopped the importation of processed meat items from South Africa, while Zambia has banned even dairy products, vegetables and fruits. Botswana is in the process of recalling from shops processed meats imported from neighbouring South Africa and Malawi has stepped up screening of South African food imports.

Zimbabwe has also instituted a thorough inspection of food outlets to ensure that products from Tiger Brands company are not being sold in the country.

“Zimbabwe has not recorded any case of listeria and the disease is still confined to South Africa,” Health and Child Care Minister, Dr David Parirenyatwa said.

Authorities in South Africa have managed to trace the disease to a company called Tiger Brands Enterprises.