Listeria Outbreak Causes Millions in Losses in South Africa

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

The Zambian Mission in Pretoria recently requested the South African government to put precautionary health measures in place to ensure that all the country's food exports to Zambia were free of the food borne disease.

Two of South Africa's largest supermarket chains, Pick n Pay and Woolworths, have wasted no time in removing any products associated with the outbreak.

The chief executive officer of Tiger Brands, who run the Enterprise facility that makes meat polony has however said the company is yet to be provided with evidence showing a direct link between the 180 listeriosis deaths and the company's products.

The South Africa listeria outbreak that has killed 180 people since January is the largest ever recorded globally, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The minister told South Africans not to consume any ready-to-eat processed meat due to the risk of cross-contamination.

The authorities are also examining a second Tiger Brands factory and have not said when they could conclude tests on RCL Foods, which has a plant under investigation.

Motsoaledi said the recent outbreak was traced to Enterprise's Polokwane facility.

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Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has announced that government has narrowed down the sources of the deadly listeriosis outbreak in South Africa.

What are your local supermarkets doing about products linked to listeriosis? He said the company immediately quarantined all those products.

We have removed all Enterprise processed cold meats and Rainbow chicken polony from our fridges and deli's and returned...

In statements to reporters yesterday, Motsoaledi called on people to avoid consuming sausages and similar products that might be contaminated, and said that other facilities of the company are under investigation, and tests are being made to determine if their products contain the unsafe bacteria. "RCL Foods is treating the outbreak " a crisis internally..." but noted "...that the specific strain of the pathogen responsible for the outbreak has not been isolated to the Wolwehoek facility".

"The big hit is going to come with inventory write-offs because they are recalling all these products".

The Enterprise unit of Tiger Brands had "a very strong brand in meat", he said, adding:"In the short term consumers will switch to other forms of protein".

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