Listeriosis Outbreak and our pets


Pets who are fed raw food diets, are the most likely ones to get infected should a listeriosis outbreak occur. (By raw food we mean meat, fruit or vegetables.)  Read on to see how you can protect your whole family from an outbreak.

Listeriosis is an infectious but not contagious disease caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes

With the current Listeriosis outbreak, one would question if sick animals were used in the food production process? Let’s leave that for the authorities to deal with and focus on prevention.  The disease is spread via consumption of an infected product.

The cycle of LISTERIOSES looks something like this:

  1. Infected animal manure is used as fertiliser to feed the plants.  This is then carried over into vegetables and fruit grown with manure fertilisers.
  2. Infected plants are fed to both humans and animals and they get infected.
  3. Infected animals are used for making processed meat, ready to consume dairy and poultry products.
  4. Humans and animals eat the processed food and get infected.

So if you fall in line with any of the above, both you and your pets are at risk of falling ill.

What can you do to avoid your family being infected by listeriosis?

  • Practice safe food handling. When shopping, place all your raw animal products in separate food bags and store properly.
  • Disinfect everything before and after : your hands, your cutlery, your cutting boards, rinse fruit and vegetables.
  • Listeria can grow in cold conditions, so always disinfect your refrigerator from any food spills.
  • Cook food properly, do not eat undercooked meat or fish.


  • Hot dogs, cold meats, deli meats, all soft cheeses (this includes feta, brie, camembert, blue cheese.  You can eat hard cheeses like mozzarella and cream cheese.
  • Avoid meat pate, smoked meat and seafood, raw milk, salads that contain the above.

The bacterium lives in the soil and poorly made animal feed.  This is not contagious but if the animal has a weak immune system and is not treated with antibiotics, it can be fatal.

Pets who are fed raw food,
are the most likely ones to get infected should a listeriosis outbreak occur.


What are the symptoms for an animal that has listeriosis?

  • The biggest concern is the neurological infection (encephalitis) that can occur affecting the brain and spinal cord, where the animal will become disorientated or nudging / tilting the head.
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea, and fever can also be a sign of listeria infection.

According to the Minister of Health the source of the Listeriosis Outbreak which was announced by him on 4 March 2018 in South Africa, is The Enterprise Food Production facility in Polokwane.

What should you do with your Enterprise Food in your Fridge?

  1. Do not panic.
  2. Please do not open it.
  3. If you have opened it, do not throw it away. Isolate it and return it to the store that you bought if from, to avoid further contamination. Clean out your refrigerator as best you can.
  4. Isolate the CLOSED product and return it to the store for a full refund.

Are we saying that ALL RAW FOOD DIETS are affected by such an outbreak?  No, but they are the ones that are most likely to be a concern during a vulnerable time.  Keep a close watch on your pets and if you suspect any concerns regarding their behaviour or health, contact your veterinarian immediately.

This is what Paul Jacobson from Vondi's Holistic Pet Food has to say regarding a dog and cat's need for MEAT:

"Listeriosis virus comes typically from raw meat, and in this case, specifically from raw chicken. The  Department of Health has advised that all meats should be cooked."

Please do share this article to help us educate pet owners around the world and help the voiceless when they are not able to speak for themselves.  Thank you.


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