Meanwhile several Southern African nations including Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia have banned several processed imports from South Africa, following the revelations that the listeria outbreak had been traced to ready to eat meat.
The public is being warned by local health authorities to avoid all processed meat products produced by Enterprise Foods as well as Rainbow Chicken, while the Consumer Goods Council has announced that consumers will be refunded if they return contaminated products.
Hundreds of customers have flocked to the South African factories suspected of being the source of the listeriosis infection which has claimed at least 180 lives in the last 14 months.
Since January 2017, 948 people have contracted listeriosis which is caused by bacteria from soil, water, vegetation and animal feces which can contaminate fresh food - notably fresh meat. A plant owned by RCL Foods is also under suspicion. It is believed to have originated in an Enterprise Food factory in the northern city of Polokwane.
On Sunday, Doctor Aaron Motsoaledi, the Minister of Health, along with the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced that an Enterprise Foods facility is responsible for the present outbreak.
The company was also recalling all 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.
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Both companies, which say they are cooperating with the authorities, suspended processed meat production at their plants after health authorities ordered a recall of cold meats associated with the outbreak from outlets at home and overseas.
The company increased testing for Listeria and confirmed the presence of a strain of Listeria in some products on February 14.
The listeria bacteria is hard to test for, as it is not homogenously distributed in food.
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. It can contaminate foods that come in contact with it.
RCL Foods manufactures a broad line of private label food products.