Tiger Brands shares tumbles as deadly listeria prompts meat recall

05 March 2018 - 10:40 By Paul Burkhardt
Image: 123RF/ John Mcnamara

Tiger Brands dropped the most in more than two years after the company’s processed meat products were identified as a source of the listeriosis outbreak that’s killed 180 people.

The source of the recent Listeriosis outbreak in the country has been found. Here is what we know so far.

Africa’s largest packaged food maker has been ordered to recall Enterprise brand ready-to-eat products and has suspended operations at two plants, the company said Sunday. The government identified the Polokwane Enterprise plant as the source of the deadly outbreak, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

The listeriosis outbreak in South Africa was believed to be the largest ever of the disease linked to food poisoning, the United Nations health agency said in January. There were 948 confirmed cases as of March 2, Motsoaledi said Sunday.

Consumers are advised to remove “any Enterprise ready-to-eat products from their fridges and place them in a plastic bag away from other products,” Chief Executive Officer Tiger Brands Lawrence MacDougall said in a statement.

Tiger Brand shares fell as much as 13%, the most since December 2015, and traded 6.6% lower at 9.50am in Johannesburg. RCL Foods, which is also suspending production and recalling some products, declined 1.3%.

Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes, with pregnant women, newborns, elderly and people with weakened immune systems most susceptible. Tiger Brands has been ordered to recall products including its Enterprise polony, a ready-to-eat form of finely ground meat, and frankfurters.

RCL said it was taking the precautionary measures of suspending production of its Rainbow Polony brand and is in the process of recalling the products.An investigation of RCL’s Wolwehoek production facility is under way, after some polony products tested positive for listeria, although not the type identified as being responsible for the outbreak, the company said.

Polony products can transfer listeria from their exterior packaging to frankfurters, other sausages and similarly processed products that are typically not cooked before eating, Motsoaledi said.

Tiger Brands has upgraded testing for listeria and introduced additional hygiene monitoring since the confirmed outbreak in December 2017, the company said. It said Sunday afternoon that its tests hadn’t yet confirmed the ST6 strain, which has driven the outbreak, although further tests were being conducted.

The company is upgrading cleaning and sanitation measures, it said in a statement Monday.

- Bloomberg

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