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Food manufacturers linked to listeria issued with safety recall notices

Cold meat products produced by Enterprise Food production in Limpopo, as well as Germiston And Rainbow Chicken Limited in Sasolburg, have been singled out.

A view of the listeria bacteria. Picture: National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

JOHANNESBURG - Three food manufacturers have been issued with safety recall notices after being identified as being the source of the listeriosis outbreak in the country.

Cold meat products produced by Enterprise Food production in Limpopo, as well as Germiston And Rainbow Chicken Limited in Sasolburg, have been singled out.

At least 180 people have died of listeriosis since January 2017, and the cases reported have risen to over 940.

The meat, known as “Polony”, made by Tiger Brands unit Enterprise Food and by RCL Foods, would be recalled from stores, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

“We advise members of the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat,” Motsoaledi said.

The main source of the listeriosis outbreak has been traced to the Enterprise Food production facility in Polokwane, however, Motsoaledi says two production facilities are also under investigation after some processed meat tested positive for the disease.

The Pick 'n Pay recall also includes all Boxer superstore and the retailer has published a full list of all the products included in the recall. They include hams, spreads, polonies, viennas, sausages and bacon, among others.

Pick 'n Pay product recall by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

“Polony products have tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes but the sequence type of the isolates is not yet known.”

Motsoaledi says processed cold meat products produced by the manufacturers will be called immediately.

“The safety recall will affect manufacturers, the entire production network both domestic and international.”

WATCH: Source of deadly listeriosis outbreak found

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

Motsoaledi said although RCL Foods had not been identified as a source of the outbreak, a facility owned by the firm was under investigation. Inquiries were ongoing at a second facility run by Enterprise Foods to establish if it too had contributed.

Listeria, which causes flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhoea, infection of the bloodstream and brain, has led to 180 fatalities and 948 reported cases since January 2017.

“We can now conclude scientifically that the source of the present outbreak is the Enterprise Food production facility located in Polokwane,” Motsoaledi told a briefing at the offices of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

“We are all extremely concerned by listeriosis - we all want to find the source or sources of listeriosis, together with the government,” Nevashnee Naicker, a Tiger Brands spokeswoman, said.

The minister said the National Consumer Commission had issued Enterprise Foods and RCL Foods with orders to recall their food products distributed locally or for export.

“We are committed to ensuring that all Enterprise products, as identified, will be recalled as part of the directive received,” Naicker added.

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.

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