Food manufacturers linked to listeria ‘must pay compensation'

The Economic Freedom Fighters says Enterprise and Rainbow Foods must account to Parliament for the lapse and must be prosecuted.

FILE: Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties want Enterprise and Rainbow Foods to be held accountable and to pay compensation to those infected by listeriosis.

The outbreak was debated in the National Assembly on Thursday afternoon after a statement by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

He’s acknowledged that the country is failing in environmental health inspections but says the Health Department could not have moved any faster in identifying the listeria outbreak.

Opposition parties say there are not enough health inspections being carried out at food processing plants and informal food stalls.

LISTEN: Listeriosis and consumer rights: What you need to know

The Economic Freedom Fighters says Enterprise and Rainbow Foods must account to Parliament for the lapse and must be prosecuted.

Motsoaledi says environmental health inspection is the responsibility of municipalities, but there’s a countrywide shortage of 3,300 inspectors.

“It was a mistake for the Constitution to give that job to local government because municipalities can’t simply afford it because they’ve got basic services to provide.”

Motsoaledi says listeriosis has, until now, never been a notifiable disease in South Africa and there was no way to have picked it up sooner.

WATCH: Motsoaledi addresses Parliament on listeriosis outbreak

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)