Polokwane – Enterprise Foods confirmed on Friday that it had received a report from the Department of Health confirming the presence of the Listeria monocytogenes ST6 (LST6) strain it its Polokwane factory.
The company said it received the report on Thursday after environmental swabs were taken at the factory on February 2.
“We are directing all our efforts, energy and time to determine how this could have occurred,” Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence MacDougall said in a statement.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced on Sunday that the outbreak of listeriosis – a food-borne disease – had been traced to the factory in Polokwane.
“We can now conclude scientifically that the source of the present outbreak is the Enterprise Food production facility located in Polokwane,” he said at the offices of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg.
MacDougall said he was deeply concerned by the detection of LST6 at the factory.
Team of scientific experts appointed
“Together with our staff, business partners and the relevant authorities we are working to mitigate any further risks to consumers. We are well advanced in the national recall of all ready-to-eat chilled processed meat products, which we initiated on Sunday. We will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of this to ensure it does not happen again,” he said.
On Wednesday EFF members removed Enterprise products from the shelves of a Shoprite store in Kokstad.
He revealed that the company had appointed a team of local and international scientific experts.
“Our Polokwane and Germiston factories remain closed while we conduct a deep cleaning process,” he said.
He said the company acknowledged that it was dealing with a national crisis that had affected customers, consumers and the industry.
“Tiger Brands wants to be at the forefront of finding a solution.”
Listeriosis deaths at 183
He added that Tiger Brands had recalled the majority of all affected products from retail outlets.
“These were removed with dedicated trucks and are being kept in a quarantine warehouse awaiting disposal by incineration,” he said.
Among the Enterprise Food meat products being recalled are polony, Viennas and Frankfurters.
Three more people, including a baby less than a month old, have succumbed to listeriosis, according to the latest report on the outbreak from the NICD.
The report also revealed that the number of deaths linked to the disease has now risen to 183.
The three latest victims died in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape.
It stated that a total of 967 cases had been reported since 2017, with 218 cases reported this year.
Rainbow Chicken recall
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa assured South Africans on Friday evening that all foodstuffs contaminated with Listeria had been safely disposed of.
Rainbow Chicken Limited Foods said in an update on Friday that it had recalled all its polony products as a precautionary measure from its entire customer base.
These products had been bagged and would be disposed of.
“Rainbow polony products can be returned to the store where the product was purchased for a full refund. The recall concerns only polony. All other Rainbow Chicken products produced at our other plants are not subject to this recall. This includes fresh and frozen products,” the update read
Source: News 24