Malawi’s health ministry says a ban will continue on the import and sale of certain South African processed meat products after a sausage known as polony is identified as a source for the listeria poisoning that has killed 180 people.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango advised people not to eat any ready-to-eat meat products from South Africa that include polony – sliced ham and Frankfurter-style sausages.

He warned people to “avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready to eat”.

Malango, nonetheless, said Malawians should not panic as government has put in place measures to avoid the outbreak from spreading locally.

“Malawi is very safe and there is no cause to press the panic button.” Malango said.

He said if the outbreak hits the country, they have medication and expertise to deal with it.

“We advise people to report to their nearest health facilities or signs like fever, muscle ache headache, confusion, nausea and diarrhoea,” he advised.

The Malawi Competition and Fair Trading Commission asked wholesalers and retailers on Monday to remove imported meat products from South Africa from their shelves in the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak linked to a factory there.

Malawi’s moves come after Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia halted processed meat imports from South Africa, where 180 people have died in the worst listeriosis outbreak in recorded history.