Tiger feels the pain
Tiger Brands has opted out of delicatessen meats after a deadly outbreak of listeria at one of its factories - which claimed more than 200 lives - exposed it to a class-action suit.
This week Tiger Brands said its value-added meat products division continued to suffer following the listeriosis outbreak. CEO Lawrence MacDougall said the company had elected to not participate in the deli segment due to regulatory risk.
Richard Spoor Attorneys filed a summons at the high court in Johannesburg last month, asking the court to find Tiger Brands liable for harm to the class members as a result of its production and distribution of contaminated ready-to-eat meat. The class action is on behalf of people who fell ill after eating listeria-tainted products and the families of those who died.
More than 1,000 people were diagnosed with listeria during the outbreak last year. Tiger Brands will defend the suit.
Ian Cruickshanks, chief economist at the South African Institute of Race Relations, said: "To me it's [opting out of the deli segment] an admission that there remains a risk in that area. We don't want to put words into their mouths but I think it's saying they don't want to be seen to be running the risks that go with the deli sector."
He said it would take years for Tiger Brands to recover from the reputational damage it had suffered after the crisis.