Health Care

Source of listeriosis outbreak identified

Source of listeriosis outbreak identified

As a result of the outbreak, a number of retailers and a franchisor, namely Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Shoprite and South African fast-food chain owner Famous Brands, chose to remove all ready-to-eat meat products from shelves and outlets.

MacDougall told reporters that Tiger Brands exceeded the DoH request and recalled all of its products, "in the interest and safety of the consumer", however, he said that Tiger Brands can not take responsibility for the deaths of the 180 people, until such time that a direct link is confirmed. Of those, 659 patients have been traced and 180 of them haved died - a 27 percent fatality rate. In addition, all ready-to-eat products such as polony and Russian sausages manufactured at the Rainbow facility in Sasolburg were also being withdrawn.

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

He said food safety remained the company's priority.

South Africa's Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi announced that the government had narrowed down the sources of the deadly listeriosis outbreak to the facility of a processed meat supplier in Germiston in the north of the country. They had gathered to demand refunds on their purchases of ready-to-eat meat products that include polony - a local version of baloney sausage - sliced ham and Frankfurter-style sausages.

Tiger Brands is to remove all Enterprise products from shelves following the linking of polony to listeriosis.

Both companies, which say they are cooperating with the authorities, suspended processed meat production at their plants after health authorities ordered a recall of cold meats associated with the outbreak from outlets at home and overseas.

Retailers Pick n Pay and Shoprite said they had withdrawn all listeriosis-linked food from their shelves.

Parent company Tiger Brands has responded, saying it has not been provided with any evidence to show there is a direct link between the listeriosis deaths and the company's products. It added that no link has been made between its Wolwehoek facility and the outbreak.

Woolworths supermarket has urged its customers to return any cold meat products bought from the store for a refund.

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

- Tiger Brands recalled Enterprise products.