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It is not long since, on 17 July 2018, the last of 1060 cases of food poisoning following the ingestion of contaminated processed meat was reported in South Africa. The epidemic was caused by an organism known as Listeria monocytogenes. It lasted for more than a year and claimed a total of 216 lives. Swabs from the workplace revealed the presence of the organism in both the production and post-production areas, where the use of effective hygiene equipment may have been either overlooked or, at best, cursory.

Listeria, however, is not the only genus of bacteria that poses a threat to the safety of our food. Salmonella Typhi, Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium botulinum, and Escherichia coli are all potential assailants in the bacterial rogue’s gallery. While the WHO congratulated South Africa for its handling of the listeriosis outbreak, prevention is better than cure. This regrettable incident has underlined the importance of effective hygiene equipment in the food-and-beverage industry.

The main sources of contamination are the various ingredients contained in the products, the work surfaces and utensils used to prepare the foodstuffs, and the workers engaged in the processing. Careful sourcing and quality-control testing should be sufficient to ensure quality ingredients but only stringent cleansing can eliminate the risks posed by the work environment and the workers themselves. For this task, a range of specialised hygiene equipment is available for use in restaurant and hotel kitchens as well as commercial food-processing plants.

Vikan, a leading manufacturer of food-safety products, offers scoops for measuring ingredients, pipe and tube cleaners to remove food residues from taps and conduits, and mops and brooms for swabbing the floors. All are made from high-quality materials that can be safely autoclaved to ensure sterility.

These products are all available in South Africa from Pescatech. Together with other items of hygiene equipment, including foot-operated or infra-red activated handwashing units and walk-through boot and shoe washers, we also offer fully automated sanitising systems for personal use.

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