Deadly listeriosis outbreak traced to Tiger Brands subsidiary



Listeria bacteria was found at two Enterprise processed meat factories and one Rainbow Chicken polony factory in the Free State.

"In the meantime, we reaffirm our commitment to recall the identified Enterprise products as soon as possible", she said.

On Sunday, it emerged that the listeriosis outbreak that has seen close to a thousand cases and almost 180 deaths began at an Enterprise cold meats facility in Limpopo. "Customers who bought any Enterprise product (including Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle, Mieliekip), or any Rainbow ready-to-eat products, e.g., polony or Russians can return the product for a full refund".

While another facility, known as the Rainbow Chicken Limited (RCL), tested positive for listeria, samples from this facility are not the same strain that is causing the outbreak.

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs), together with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), and officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) had visited the food production site in Polokwane.

In a bid to curb further spread of the disease, the Department of Health said the National Consumer Commission had issued implicated manufacturers with safety recall notices.

He said while polony was a definite source, other products such as Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, other sausages and cold meats not typically cooked could also be affected due to the risk of cross contamination.Pregnant women, neonates, elderly people and anyone with weakened systems should "not go near" these products.Motsoaledi said retailers must clean their fridges, meat slicers, and either remove the ready-to-eat meat products or place them in plastic bags in separate fridges - ahead of the recall. Remember that in the last press conference I informed you that from clinical isolates obtained from patients (patient blood), 9 sequence types of Listeria monocytogenes were isolated and 91% were of sequence type 6 (ST6).

In addition to the Polokwane facility, another Enterprise facility located in Germiston, Gauteng, tested positive for Listeria but it is yet to be confirmed if it is the same ST6 strain.

National Consumer Commission deputy commissioner Thenzi Mabuza said "companies would have to come up with a plan on how they would recall all products which they must present on Monday morning".

Woolworths, in a statement, said it had a team of food scientists and technologists who proactively manage food safety to prevent microbial contamination of food.

Rainbow Chicken polony is also a cause of listeriosis. Recalled meat is being isolated and will be safely destroyed. The colleague reportedly told him about seven cases of listeriosis in newborns in the first half of 2017.

On Sunday the ministry of health announced a breakthrough in the listeriosis outbreak following several months of rigorous research. Of these 948, a total of 659 patients have been traced and 180 of them have died.

Motsoaledi urged the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat, even from other brands.

While Listeria can not be spread from one person to another, pregnant women and infants, as well as people with weakened immune systems, are at a higher risk of contracting it.

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