Zambia's High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has ordered South African retail chain stores operating in the country to recall ready-to-eat meat products imported from that country following expert confirmation that the products were a source of Listeria bacteria.
The minister told South Africans not to consume any ready-to-eat processed meat due to the risk of cross-contamination. A plant owned by RCL Foods is also under suspicion.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced earlier that an Enterprise factory in Limpopo had been found to be the source of the outbreak of the disease. It is also recalling all of its polony brands. As a company that prioritizes the health and safety of consumers above all else, we are committed to ensuring that all Enterprise products, as identified, will be recalled as part of the directive received.
South African public health officials, along with three technical advisers from the Geneva, Switzerland-based World Health Organization, visited a food production facility in Polokwane and conducted extensive food and environmental sampling, according to Motsoaledi.
In statements to reporters yesterday, Motsoaledi called on people to avoid consuming sausages and similar products that might be contaminated, and said that other facilities of the company are under investigation, and tests are being made to determine if their products contain the risky bacteria. "Our products have always been grown, handled and packed under strict internationally-acknowledged food safety protocols and conditions". They had gathered to demand refunds on their purchases of ready-to-eat meat products that include polony - a local version of baloney sausage - sliced ham and Frankfurter-style sausages. Polony products have tested positive for Listeria, but the sequence types of the isolates are not ST6.
Tiger Brands Chief Executive Officer Lawrence MacDougall said on Monday that the Department of Health (DoH) approached and advised the company about the seriousness of the outbreak at the same time the public was informed, Sunday afternoon.
RCL Foods manufactures a broad line of private label food products.