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Listeria: intensive investigation of food surveillance
After the listeria diseases and deaths that have been associated with products from the Hessian meat manufacturer Wilke, there is now apparently another outbreak of listeriosis in Germany. The dangerous bacteria were found in a meat processing company in Baden-Württemberg.
As the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg writes in a message, the current report of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) from October 23 on renewed illnesses in Germany in recent months, triggered by Listeria type Pi4, from the state of Baden -Wuerttemberg viewed with great care and diligence. According to the information, the responsible minister Peter Hauk has initiated an intensive investigation of food surveillance. According to the ministry, the previous investigations in Baden-Württemberg show no evidence of type Pi4 listeria.
Evidence of disease-causing listeria
The background to the sharp reaction was evidence of disease-causing listeria, which was found as part of an official routine check in 2017 in a food and in 2019 in a meat processing company in Baden-Württemberg (in a production plant and not in food). The findings from 2017 were far below the permitted limit values, but for reasons of precautionary consumer protection, they were a reason for intensified monitoring of the operation.
As stated in the communication, after the above-mentioned proof in January 2019, extensive examinations and measures were initiated by the authorities and by the company in a production plant in order to reduce the risk of contamination of the produced sausage products with listeria as far as possible possible to exclude. This primarily included the decommissioning of the affected production plant, optimization of cleaning and disinfection as well as very extensive product tests. It is emphasized that no listeria has been detected in any sample of a food produced there since 2017, despite the most intensive studies.
After these measures had already been carried out, the federal authorities informed the federal states at the end of February that an illness had been identified by a certain type of Listeria (Pi4) and six cases were attributed to the case nationwide. In addition, it was announced that the listeria from the environmental samples from January 2019 are genetically assigned to the same type. However, the ongoing official and operational investigations and investigations in the company did not reveal any evidence of a Listeria problem or the discovery of the Listeria type (Pi4).
New cases of illness
On October 23, 2019, the Robert Koch Institute sent the states an updated situation report on the Pi4 case from the end of August 2019 due to new cases of illness, which, according to the notification, put the responsible authorities in Baden-Württemberg on high alert. With the involvement of the interdisciplinary control team for food safety, further investigations and investigations were carried out in the company to find possible sources of contamination and to ensure consumer protection.
Based on the results available to date (as of November 2, 2019), no source of contamination could be found in the company and no listeria could be detected in any of the products examined. All production batches must be tested for listeria using extensive tests before they are allowed to leave the company.
If, during the ongoing inspections and examinations in the company, you find stressful indications that may indicate a connection with the illnesses, the necessary measures are immediately taken by the authorities, such as a public recall or closure of the company.
Differences to the "Wilke" case
The Ministry points out that the case differs significantly from the "Wilke" case, because in addition to the molecular biological studies, it has so far not been possible to establish a connection between delivery routes or patient surveys and since 2017, despite extensive studies, no listeria could be found in products. In order to achieve fast and reliable test results in the field of bacteria such as listeria or salmonella in the country as well, Minister Hauk has arranged for the required test competence, which the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has previously carried out, also in the chemical and veterinary examination offices (CVUAen) of the country. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.