Pretoria – Stay away from all cold storage processed meats, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) cautioned on Monday after Tiger Brands shut down its Pretoria manufacturing facility, the third after the outbreak of listeria.
Tiger Brands issued the recall of its Snax product after detecting the bacteria at its Pretoria facility.
The company had, since the announcement made by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on March 4, closed operations at its Enterprise factories in Polokwane and Germiston.
Nevashnee Naicker, Tiger Brands spokesperson, said no one had informed or instructed them to close their Pretoria operations down. The company did so voluntarily, she said.
Samples taken in for testing four weeks ago by their team of local and international scientific experts tested positive for a strain of the listeria disease.
Naicker said that while staff was present at the facility on Monday, no production of any kind was taking place. She said staff members were not affected in any way, but were taking part in the deep cleaning of the facility.
Consultations between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as Tiger Brands senior officials were ongoing in Polokwane. The cause of the listeria bacteria at the company’s facilities remains unknown, and Naicker said they could be micro-organisms hiding in the machinery that were behind the contamination.
For now, however, the company did not know which strain of listeria it was, she said. “The company does not know the source of the disease, but we have been hyper-vigilant since the initial recall of our products was issued.”
Naicker also noted that they did not know how the listeria presented itself as they had no guidance. “Because our customers’ safety has always been our priority, this time we took the decision to shut down the facility voluntarily, recall our remaining products and will be refunding our customers.”