March 17, 2018

Fear as South Africa meat recall over listeria spreads

06 March 2018, 01:28 | Darrell Baldwin

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

Members of the public are in panic mode after processed meat products have been linked to the recent listeriosis outbreak.

The company had voluntarily recalled all the ready-to-eat cold meats produced at the Germiston and Polokwane facilities MacDougall said, even though the recall notice had only specified 3 items - namely polony, viennas and frankfurters.

Products manufactured at Enterprise's Polokwane factory in South Africa subsequently tested positive for the strain that was later found to be responsible for nearly all of the cases.

Meanwhile RCL Foods [JSE:RCL] confirmed in a separate note to shareholders that its Wolwehoek processing plant has taken the precautionary measure to suspend all production of RCL Foods' Rainbow Polony brand.

This followed the announcement by Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, after tests linked the listeria monocytogenes ST6 strain positively with these products' supplier manufacturing plants.

The fallout of the deadly listeriosis outbreak is likely to affect the books of Tiger brands and RCL foods.

South Africa's two largest supermarket chains, Shoprite and Pick n Pay, also pulled products made by Rainbow Chickens after Motsoaledi confirmed that listeriosis had been identified in samples taken from one of its facilities.

The Mozambican ministry of agriculture and food security "asks that all owners of establishments that commercialise these products start to withdraw from the shelves due to the danger that this constitutes to health", it said in a statement.

Motsoaledi said on Sunday that polony was a definite source of the disease.

The government blamed the sausage known as polony for the listeria poisoning that has killed 180 people. It is believed to have originated in an Enterprise Food factory in the northern city of Polokwane.

The company increased testing for Listeria and confirmed the presence of a strain of Listeria in some products on February 14.

Tiger Brands advised consumers to remove any Enterprise ready-to-eat products from their fridges and place them in a plastic bag away from other products.

Since January 2017, 948 people have contracted listeriosis which is caused by bacteria from soil, water, vegetation and animal faeces which can contaminate fresh food - notably fresh meat.

South Africa is Zambia's second largest trading partner following a number of South African business entities operating in Zambia.

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