Tracing Listeria outbreak sources is tricky because the disease can have an incubation period of several weeks, and because the suspected foods—ready-to-eat processed meat products—are so widely consumed.
Asking people who may eat such meats almost every day to remember which type or brand they might have consumed two or three weeks ago is dogged by uncertainty.
Ben Embarek said these were a few of “probably many factors” that have come together to create such a large outbreak.
“We also have a situation where the control and food safety assurance within the production environment is probably not yet where it should be,” he said. “It’s a developing economy, so there are newcomers in the sector that may or may not be on top of how to manage safety in a food production environment.”