Image via Adobe Stock
Image via Adobe Stock
Tiger Brands, on Wednesday 15 April, confirmed the closure of its bakery in Durban after 12 staff members tested positive.
Tiger Brands, in their statement, said all of the infected employees worked in the administration building and not on the production line or in the delivery process.
According to the Citizen, the Albany bakery was closed.
An employee who reported for duty was advised to seek medical attention after reporting feeling ill with flu-like symptoms. A test was conducted and the results came back positive on Thursday 9 April.
“As per the NICD protocol, all employees who had come into close contact with the individual were identified and sent for precautionary testing and self-isolation as they were asymptomatic. The testing was subsequently extended to all staff in the admin building where the first patient worked. These results were received yesterday 15 April,” the statement read.
The 12 employees who tested positive are currently in self-isolation.
“Naturally, we appreciate that this may cause concerns around food safety regarding bread,” it said.
However, Tiger Brands has assured customers that the company is guided by the research provided by the Department of Health the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the WHO, NICD and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), there is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.
The WHO stated that experiences from previous outbreaks show that transmission through food consumption did not occur.
“Nonetheless, good food hygiene — such as washing your hands before handling food, and using clean utensils and cutting boards, is pivotal food safety behaviour and should be taken seriously,” it said.
“Our bread manufacturing process is highly automated — from mixing to baking to slicing to sealing into tamper-proof bags and crating,” it added.
Tiger Brands said that in the event of a positive case, it has developed specific protocols to mitigate the risk of any environmental or surface contamination.
“This includes isolation and sanitising of the packaged product, all surfaces in the factory and all delivery trucks. As a result of the bakery’s closure, the bread produced in this facility yesterday has not been dispatched to the market,” it said.
One can visit the company website to see the process it has in place to manage both suspected and confirmed cases among its workforce.