Tiger Brands Tumbles as Deadly Listeria Prompts Meat Recall

Ready-to-Eat Processed Meat: Source of South Africa's Listeria Outbreak

RCL said it was taking the precautionary measures of suspending production of its Rainbow Polony brand and is in the process of recalling the products.

Enterprise - part of the Tiger Brands stable - issued a statement on Sunday saying the company had "proactively amplified" its testing for listeria and could confirm that it found a "low detection" of a strain of listeria in some of its products on February 14.

Retailers are disposing of all Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken products after the announcement today that they had traced the source of the Listeriosis outbreak to an Enterprise facility in Polokwane.

"Customers who bought any Enterprise ready to eat products (Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle & Mieliekip) and Rainbow ready-to-eat products can return the product for a full refund".

At the last media briefing held on 08 January 2018, I reported that a total of 727 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis had occurred since 01 January 2017.

Food Lover's Market said in a tweet that it will be removing products that may be linked to the listeriosis outbreak from their stores.

While Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL), tested positive for Listeria, its samples did not test positive for the strain ST6, which is the cause of the outbreak.

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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. "Also, over 10% of environmental samples collected by the EHPs at this facility have tested positive for L. monocytogenes", he said.

"This is because listeria on the exterior casing (packaging) can be transferred to other products it comes into contact with", he said. It said Sunday afternoon that its tests hadn't yet confirmed the ST6 strain, which has driven the outbreak, although further tests were being conducted.

Consumers are advised to remove "any Enterprise ready-to-eat products from their fridges and place them in a plastic bag away from other products", Chief Executive Officer Tiger Brands Lawrence MacDougall said in a statement. Recalled meat is being isolated and will be safely destroyed.

Rainbow Chicken polony is also a cause of listeriosis. Motsoaledi said it was at that stage of the investigation that officials made a decision to "visit all food-processing sites, food-packaging sites as well as food production sites where possible". Such products could be cross-contaminated in shops as they are often stored next to polony.

"In our constant search for the source of the outbreak and the treatment of people who are affected, a team from NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) has interviewed 109 ill people to obtain details about foods they had eaten in the month before falling ill", Motsoaledi said Sunday.

Hundreds more might have died before the listeriosis outbreak was identified, were it not for a "serendipitous meeting" in the corridor of the Chris Baragwanath hospital in 2017, according to Times Select.

Those at high risk of developing severe disease include newborns, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with weak immunity such as HIV, Diabetes, Cancer, Chronic liver or Kidney disease.

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