Won’t take the blame says Tiger Brand’s boss

And he’s unapologetic about that.

Taking no blame. Tiger Brand’s boss Lawrence MacDougall says the listeria is a common bacterium in South Africa and won’t apologise.

At yesterday’s press brief on the outbreak of Listeriosis, the company reiterated that company’s products have not been linked to any deaths, saying listeria is a common bacterium in South Africa.

This follows the minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi’s announcement on Sunday that two of Tiger Brand’s Enterprise factories had scientifically produced contaminated products.

As a result 180 lives were claimed yet the company claims “there is no direct link between the fatalities and its products”.

“Enterprise Foods follows stringent protocols for the manufacture of quality food products.”

Despite the bacteria linked to two outlets, he says his company will not apologise unless there is proof of negligence.

“We have brought in independent experts on listeriosis to work with us and provide scientific expertise that will be required to get to the bottom of this.”

Tiger Brands says it has sufficient protocols in place to deal with listeriosis and has done all it can to fight the disease.

The death toll from the outbreak stands at 180 but the company says there is no direct link between the fatalities and its products.

Despite the bacteria linked to two outlets, he says his company will not apologise unless there is proof of negligence.

Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda and lately Botswana have halted export of processed meat from SA.

Meanwhile, the ruling party has called for an investigation into the quality of the packaging used in products linked to listeriosis.

“The ANC calls on the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to urgently initiate an investigation at various identified food production factories in order to ascertain and establish whether the packaging material used in those products is not substandard and that it conforms to the basic standards of hygiene.

“These food production factories should ensure that the standard of packaging is not of inferior quality; chasing lower production prices at the expense of innocent lives.”

The party said it was “disturbed” by the number of deaths linked to the food-borne disease.

“To us‚ one death is too many. It is for this reason that we make a call to the people of South Africa to remain vigilant and visit health centres as and when they experience the symptoms for immediate treatment. We also urge members of the public to follow the advice given by the Department [of health] to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ‘ready-to-eat’ in order to prevent the spread of the disease.”

The ANC said it welcomes the recall of products that are implicated‚ including polony‚ viennas‚ Russians and sausages.

“We urge the Department of Health and the Department of Labour to undertake regular visits of all factories dealing with the production of food products to ascertain their conformity of the relevant legislation around health and employment.”

On Sunday‚ Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi named Enterprise’s food production plant in Polokwane‚ Limpopo‚ as the confirmed source of the unique strain of listeria‚ which has caused the world’s biggest documented listeriosis outbreak‚ with 948 confirmed cases and 180 deaths.

Retailers Woolworths and Pick n Pay have since immediately recalled all products linked to listeriosis. Pick n Pay said recalled products will be safely destroyed.

Symptoms of Listeriosis:

Some of the symptoms include flu-like symptoms like fever and nausea as well as diarrhoea.

In high-risk patients, the spread of infection to the nervous system can cause meningitis, leading to headaches, confusion, a stiff neck, loss of balance or convulsions.

Pregnant women may present with a mild flu-like illness associated with headache, fever and myalgia.

However, infections during pregnancy can lead to premature births, infection of the newborn with permanent disability and miscarriage or stillbirth.

High-risk groups:

Those at high-risk are newborns, especially in their first 28 days of life, as well as pregnant women and their unborn babies.

The elderly are also at risk, especially those above the age of 65.

People with compromised immune systems, like those with HIV, diabetes, cancer, chronic liver conditions or kidney disease, are at particular risk.

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