An outbreak of listeria and doubts
Experts say that Listeria monocytogene is a slippery and resistant bug that is very difficult to kill and is so widespread - in harmless concentrations, it is understood
- The company that caused listeriosis says that "what happened is not explained"
- Complaint: The Office of the Prosecutor of Seville opens an investigation into the outbreak of listeriosis and meat with white label
- White label. Two other products contaminated by listeria in an outbreak that already leaves a second victim
- Analysis: Batches of shredded meat contaminated with listeria packaged in June are detected
- Report: The Board detected one month before the alert a rebound of listeriosis cases
- Q&A. What is listeriosis and what are its symptoms?
Experts say that Listeria monocytogene is a slippery and resistant bug that is very difficult to kill and is so widespread - in harmless concentrations, it is understood - that you could have it yourself in your body. The bacterium that has caused the greatest health crisis due to listeriosis in Andalusia, and in Spain -192 affected only in the region, two dead-, is not only demonstrating its resistance and its ability to reproduce and spread, but also has inoculated in the Andalusian government that Juanma Moreno Bonilla presides over the worst political crisis of its short existence.
Since May 15, the Ministry of Health communicated the activation of the health alert, listeriosis has been gaining ground not only among the population, but has infected the management of the health crisis with doubts and dark spots.
Not to mention the failures , which there are and some very serious ones, which have finished putting one of the most spoiled ministries of the "change" government against the ropes.
WITH WHITE BRAND
Up to now, the most serious mistake - regardless of who is responsible - has been the batch of shredded meat manufactured by Magrudis but marketed under a white label by another company ( Comercial Martínez León ) that has escaped sanitary controls. In fact, health authorities had no idea that Magrudis roasted meat was being sold under other brands until day 21, six days after the health alert was activated and seven days after the analyzes confirmed that the meat was infested of listeria. Until this Friday, the inspectors had not immobilized, as a "precautionary measure," that meat.
The meat, which was also contaminated, had no label and had "serious" deficiencies according to Health.
THE BEGINNING OF THE SPROUT
One of the most controversial points is the specific moment in which the listeriosis outbreak began. The chronology of the crisis presents gaps. Especially after an official report of the Ministry of Health revealed that already at the end of July there was evidence of an abnormal rebound in cases of listeriosis. According to the same document, on August 5 the first outbreak is confirmed and between 12 and 14 there are several more.
In addition, and as if that were not enough, a woman who lost her baby on August 2 from listeriosis - as stated in her medical report - argues that she ate meat from the contaminated meat in late June .
DID THE ALERT TAKE TOO?
The Junta de Andalucía has been defending that it has scrupulously applied the sanitary protocols and that it has acted "quickly" in everything that concerns the crisis caused by listeria. The Minister of Health himself admitted this week in an interview in the Cope Chain a "two or three day lag" in the activation of the alert, a decision that was taken on the 15th, although already on the 9th the Municipal Laboratory of Seville He informed the Andalusian Health Service that the samples they had received were "highly" positive in listeria.
Given that since the end of July there were already an unusually high number of cases, many voices, especially among those affected, criticize the delay in the alert by the Board, which was defended at the time alleging an error in the labeling of the samples that he attributed to the Municipal Laboratory, whose officials replied with a defense of their actions and blaming the Board.
THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE FLESH
According to the information that has been provided promptly by the Ministry of Health, the first thing that was immobilized and withdrew from the market was the meat mecha of the brand Mecha, the focus of the outbreak at first. That happened on August 14, one day before activating the health alert. Only this week the alert was extended to other products of the brand manufactured by Magrudis. From the cream of roasted meat to the colored butter, through the zurrapa of loin.
In that period of time, and although the company had already stopped its production, the other products were for sale , among which there were also sources of infection by listeria.
Specifically, the analyzes carried out tested positive for the massive presence of the bacteria in the loin with the sherry and the loin with the pepper, although, as far as is known, there are no infections produced by the consumption of these meats, from which they were taken the samples for analysis on day 20, when five days had passed since the alert.
It has been one of the most recurring concerns and one of the most frequently asked questions to experts. Cross contamination is the spread of the bacteria to another product through an instrument used with contaminated product, such as a knife, for example, or a cutting board.
"Forget about cross-contamination," said the spokesman of the technical cabinet of the Board for the listeriosis crisis, Dr. José Miguel Cisneros, in one of his appearances this week. But, at the same time, the Andalusian Administration has ordered to inspect cutters and other utensils in shops and establishments in which the meat was distributed. Likewise, the risk of cross contamination is admitted from the Ministry of Health, as have organizations of experts in the field.
THE FOCUS OF POLLUTION
Almost ten after the health alert was decreed, the only thing that is known with certainty is that the origin of the outbreak is "in the factory," as the acting Health Minister, Maria Luisa Carcedo, said on Thursday. It is also known that the rocking machine of the Magrudis plant is infested with listeria, although the result is not definitive and everything points, as the deputy director of Health Protection, Jesús Peinado, pointed out on Friday that the contamination in the Factory is "extensive" , that is, the bacteria have invaded all facilities.
Just yesterday, the Official College of Veterinarians of Seville pointed out that the contamination in the Magrudis factory was due to an internal failure, "most likely due to lack of hygiene in the product manufacturing process."
It remains to be clarified whether the controls to which the Magrudis company was bound were carried out. The law forced her to conduct periodic examinations that, in turn, controlled the administration. But it is not known if everything was in order. The College of Veterinarians pointed directly to "failures" in internal control systems. Or, rather, in the absence of any kind of control despite what is established by the European Union regulation 2073/2005.
Magrudis, meanwhile, said yesterday in a statement that days before the packaging had made analysis to the meat and that they gave negative. The company "does not explain what happened" and is "in shock ."
Although the powers correspond to the Junta de Andalucía in regard to the management of the health crisis, there are two other very involved administrations, the Ministry of Health and the City Council of Seville. All three have crossed statements and criticisms and, separately, have provided sometimes contradictory information.
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