SA has had the biggest listeriosis outbreak in the world which has resulted in more than 180 deaths to date. The Conversation Africa’s health editor Candice Bailey spoke to Prof Lise Korsten about the challenges around food safety in the country. CANDICE BAILEY: What’s challenging about the pathogen that causes listeriosis? LISE KORSTEN: The pathogen — listeria monocytogenes — causes the deadly disease in nature and uses food as a vehicle to invade the human body. Once it enters the body it "switches gears" and becomes lethal, causing symptoms such as nausea and diarrhoea — and even death. As with many other food-borne pathogens, listeria can co-exist with other micro-organisms in water and soil ecosystems or on plants. The bacteria can survive even under stressful conditions, such as refrigeration. It can proliferate even when other micro-organisms die off. And it even competes with other micro-organisms for nutrients and space. CB: What does the outbreak tell us about food safety ...

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