DTI says companies affected by listeriosis could face legal action

Members of Parliament received a briefing from officials in the various departments about the listeria outbreak and the recall of certain products on Wednesday.

DTI deputy director Evelyn Masotja. Picture: thedti.gov.za

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned companies affected by the listeriosis outbreak that they’re at risk of a class action suit.

The warning came during a joint meeting of the DTI, Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Members of Parliament received a briefing from officials in the various departments about the listeria outbreak and the recall of certain products on Wednesday.

More than 180 people have so far died from listeriosis across the country.

The World Health Organisation has dubbed the Listeria outbreak the biggest in recorded history.

It’s not only cost the lives of more than 180 South Africans, but it’s cost the economy hundreds of millions of rands in trade.

The DTI has warned that the long-term impact of the outbreak could be even higher.

Countries like Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda and Kenya have already banned South African sausage exports valued at about R100 million.

DTI deputy director Evelyn Masotja said: “There are possible class actions that may follow due to the outbreak against the responsible companies. Meaning that there might be legal action taken against them.”

The DTI says it’s still early days and that the banned products make up a very small percentage of the county's total exports.