Listeriosis: Four countries suspend meat imports from South Africa

Photo: Generic cold meats, not Enterprise products

Listeriosis: Outbreak traced to Enterprise factory

Enterprise Foods will recall products that have been identified as being part of the listeriosis outbreak, but the company says it will continue conducting its own tests.

Listeriosis: Four countries suspend meat imports from South Africa

Photo: Generic cold meats, not Enterprise products

The Listeriosis outbreak which has claimed almost 200 lives in South Africa so far, has been traced to an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane, according to Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi.

He made the announcement on Sunday.

“We can now conclude scientifically that the source of the present outbreak is the Enterprise Food production facility located in Polokwane,” Motsoaledi said.

A second facility in Germiston as well as a Rainbow Chicken facility in the Free State is also under suspicion. However, further tests are still needed as the sequence type was not known.

Retailers, and consumers who regularly buy products from these brands have been urged to clean fridges and meat slicers. Motsoaledi said that products should either be placed in plastic bags or in separate fridges – ahead of the recall.

“I’ve already emptied [out] my fridge this morning… I woke up my wife – [and told let’s] just take these things out,” he said.

“Any human being in the country who has these products in their fridge must take them out immediately.”

Which meats are at risk of Listeriosis?

According to Motsoaledi, processed meat products were the most likely culprit with polony being one of the main sources of the virus. Viennas, Russians, Frankfurters, other sausages and cold meats not typically cooked could also be affected.

Products will now have to be recalled.

Enterprise Foods issued the following statement in response:

Enterprise Foods was alerted today (midday) about the need to recall identified Enterprise products.

We are all extremely concerned by Listeriosis – we all want to find the source or sources of Listeriosis, together with government.

As a company that prioritises 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.

We are working very closely with the officials at present to conduct the process and will provide updates to the public on this matter.

The company proactively amplified its testing for Listeria and can confirm that we had found a low detection of a strain of listeria in some products on 14 February but the presence of the ST6 strain has not been confirmed by our tests.

The company has furthermore sent its samples to an external laboratory to test for the strain itself and should receive the results tomorrow.

We have been actively engaging the Department of Health and the NICD on our findings and have openly collaborated with the DoH and the NICD on these findings and the actions taken to date to actively address our findings.

We await confirmation of the strain testing to confirm the strain. In the meantime, we reaffirm our commitment to recall the identified Enterprise products as soon as possible.

People at high risk for listeriosis include:

  • pregnant women
  • neonates (first 28 days of life)
  • very young infants
  • elderly persons >65 years of age, and
  • anyone with a weakened immune system (due to HIV infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, people with transplants and those on immunosuppressive therapy such as oral corticosteroids, chemotherapy, or anti-TNF therapy for auto-immune disease).