The national institute for communicable diseases (NICD) has rubbished claims that it misled Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi regarding the source of listeriosis.
Last month, Motsoaledi announced that meat products from Rainbow and Enterprise were found to have traces of listeria.
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But during a parliamentary portfolio committee meeting last week, the DA said the source of the outbreak was still unknown.
“We are particularly worried about the confusion that emanated from statements made at the 28 March portfolio committee on agriculture meeting,” the NICD said in a statement.
“Of major concern are the claims that the primary source of the outbreak is still unknown and that the minister has backed down on his previous announcement that the source had been identified – both of which we refute.”
The institute said the statement made by Motsoaledi emanated from a thorough scientific research.
“The implication that the NICD has misled the minister and the public is rejected,” it said.
“Furthermore, we condemn the statement that the government prematurely scapegoated ‘Enterprise and Rainbow’ without sufficient evidence.”
The NICD said its work was evidence-based.
“We work together with the World Health Organisation and eminent international institutions including the centres for disease control and prevention and the national institute of health of the USA, the European centre for disease control (ECDC) and public health Englan, among others.”
The bacteria has claimed 189 lives to date, with 982 patients affected.
A class action lawsuit was filed against Enterprise owner, Tiger Brands, last week after one of its food factories was linked to the listeriosis outbreak.
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