Tiger Brands to abide by directive from govt over cold meats recall

A factory of Enterprise Foods, a subsidiary of Tiger Brands, has been identified as the source of the world's largest outbreak of listeria. Such products could be cross-contaminated in shops as they are often stored next to polony.

This follows an announcement by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Sunday that the source of the present outbreak was an Enterprise facility in Polokwane.

Tiger Brands said it was cooperating with authorities, while RCL Foods said it would issue a statement soon.

Motsoaledi said due to the risk of cross-contamination of other ready-to-eat processed meat products, Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, sausages, and other "cold meat" products that are typically not cooked before eating posed a risk.

"While we know that polony is definitely implicated, there is a risk of cross-contamination of other ready-to-eat processed meat products, either at production, distribution or retail", according to the minister's statement.

Ironically, Polokwane means "Place of Safety".

In South Africa, he added, turnover margins are probably around 8%. However, we could not have a media briefing in February because the NICD asked for a bit of more time to finalise certain laboratory tests.

"Avoid all processed meats products that are sold as ready to eat‚" said Motsoaledi. Enterprise says it is cooperating fully.


While Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL), tested positive for Listeria, its samples did not test positive for the strain ST6, which is the cause of the outbreak.

If you have any of the polony or sausage products named by the health ministry as possible culprits in South Africa's listeriosis outbreak - especially if they're opened - remove them from your fridge immediately to avoid contaminating other food. It can take up to 70 days after exposure for listeriosis symptoms to develop.

"You are most welcome to return any Enterprise Foods and Rainbow Chicken cold meat products for a refund".

Contaminated sausages have led to nearly 200 deaths from listeria in South Africa.

Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from stools collected from one of the ill children, and from both of the polony specimens collected at the creche. Remember that in the last press conference I informed you that from clinical isolates obtained from patients (patient blood), 9 sequence types of Listeria monocytogenes were isolated and 91% were of sequence type 6 (ST6). These are an Enterprise facility in Germiston on the East Rand, and a Rainbow chicken facility in the Free State. Lucia Anelich, a microbiologist and prominent South African food safety expert, said it is the worst foodborne outbreak "in global history".

The listeriosis outbreak has claimed the lives of 180 people while 948 laboratory-confirmed cases had been reported to the NICD since past year. Of these 948, a total of 659 patients have been traced and 180 of them have died.

The death toll stood at 172 as recently as Feb 22. This constitutes 27% case fatality rate. The problem was a design flaw that inhibited thorough cleaning.

Maple Leaf found mechanical meat slicers at its ready-to-eat meat plant spread the bacteria across Canada. Maple Leaf CEO Michael McCain praised the Weatherill report as exceptionally thorough and comprehensive.


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