GEORGE NEWS - Thamsanqa Malusi from Richard Spoor Attorneys in Mpumalanga confirmed reports that the firm will be trying to bring a class action against Tiger Brands on behalf of close to 1 000 people who have been diagnosed with listeriosis since January last year.
People have already contacted the firm since their intention was made public early in the week.
This comes after the department of health identified two Enterprise manufacturing facilities as the source of the listeriosis outbreak that has caused the death of 180 people since January 2017.
Some processed meat products were subsequently recalled from shop shelves.
Malusi could not confirm whether the families of the woman from George and the man from Knysna who died of listeriosis last year, have contacted the firm.
He said according to South African law, all the cases are automatically included in the action, unless otherwise desired.
"Once we get the class action certified by a court, public notices will be placed to inform all those affected."
In response to concerns aired by some readers regarding the status of canned viennas and corned meat, a local Spar said that only cold meats were recalled. (Tiger Brands did not respond to a query in this regard.)
Woolworths came under fire on Twitter and Facebook after the company removed a long list of processed meats from its shelves. Furious consumers accused the company of creating a false perception about their products' origin and standard. Susie Squire, Woolworths head of communications, refuted this in a statement, saying that they do not stock any Enterprise products.
At a press conference last week, a panel from Eden District Municipality announced the actions they envisage to ensure that processed meats affected by listeria are removed from shelves. The panel members were, from left: Monde Stratu (municipal manager), Mayor Memory Booysen, Clive Africa (executive manager of Community Services) and Johan Compion (senior manager of Health and Environmental Services). Photo: Wessel van Heerden
"Woolworths' ready-to-eat products are sliced and packed in a dedicated production facility within Enterprise Polokwane and Germiston."
The meat is strictly made to their own unique recipes and the use of mechanically deboned meat is not allowed.
Bimpie Olivier from Victoria West says she does not buy Enterprise anymore and she cleaned and disinfected her fridge thorougly after the listeriosis debacle. Photo: Alida de Beer
Call for test protocol for MDM
The South African Poultry Asscociation (Sapa) called for a listeria test protocol to be implemented for imported mechanically deboned meat (MDM) by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff).
MDM is used in certain processed meats to add bulk. Referring to reports of corruption and evasion of food safety checks in the Brazilian meat and poultry industries, Sapa demanded that Daff establish whether one of that country's biggest poultry exporters, BRF SA, evaded tests for listeria.
Daff told the George Herald last week that listeria testing is not part of the routine testing of MDM under Daff's current protocol, but it is currently being tested.
Spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo said any non-compliant imported consignments are dealt with on their own merit. This could mean that a specific establishment or a whole country can be banned from exporting to South Africa.
Cornelia Oelf says she has not stopped eating bacon, she just switched brands. Her usual hygiene habits are adequate and she has not seen the need to adjust them because of the listeriosis outbreak. Photo: Alida de Beer
Inspections in Eden
Eden District Municipality deployed environmental health practitioners locally to conduct inspections at formal and informal food premises and request managers to remove the listed products from their shelves.
In a statement last week, Community Services Manager Clive Africa said the recalled products will be disposed of at the Optimum Waste incineration plant in George.
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