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Health Ministry confirms listeria presence at Rainbow Chicken plant in FS

This includes several areas of the production facility, including post-production areas which are a risk for product contamination.

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

JOHANNESBURG – The Health Ministry has confirmed that Rainbow Chicken Limited’s Wolwehoek plant in the Free State was found to be contaminated with listeria, in line with the announcement made earlier this month.

This follows company claims that tests conducted by an independent laboratory in France, have confirmed that the plant is clear of the listeria strain.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the statement is misleading and that the products from listeria contaminated facilities may pose a risk to human health.

He says the results shared by rainbow chicken do not in anyway, change the fact that listeria was found in the Wolwehoek production facility.

This includes several areas of the production facility, including post-production areas which are a risk for product contamination.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases Juno Thomas says, “The fact that we’ve listeria monocytogenes in any polony ready to eat or processed meat products or the factory that makes them, is of health concern.

“The whole sequencing of all the isolate cases from the Wolwehoek production facility will be completed early next week.”

Motsoaledi says this is the very same plant which the deadly bacterium was found earlier this month and nothing has changed since he made the announcement.

He said the Rainbow Chicken must clean their factories, rather than taking shortcuts that will put the human life at risk.

The health department’s Juno Thomas said: “The RCL Foods statement is, in fact, misleading because even though the ST6 outbreak strain wasn’t found there.

“listeria monocytogenes was present in the production facility and was also present in some retail polony samples which was already mentioned by the minister of health.”

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