Food giant Tiger Brands will be following strict guidelines to ensure the safe destruction of returned Enterprise products, following the recall of products presumed to be contaminated with listeriosis.
Nevashnee Naicker, spokesperson for Tiger Brands, says “the products that have been returned are being quarantined by our distribution partners, who will be following strict guidelines to ensure the products are safely destroyed.”
She could not, however, provide details on the exact disposal procedures which would be followed.
The mass round-up of processed meat products comes after an announcement by Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi during a press briefing on Sunday, about the deadly outbreak of listeriosis being traced to Enterprise food production facilities in Polokwane, Limpopo, and Germiston in Gauteng.
Government subsequently ordered the food giant to shut down both factories and recall all its products. The mass recall at all food distribution channels in South Africa has seen scores of frustrated consumers standing in queues to return their ready-to-eat meat products to retailers.
Naicker explained that most products from retailers and traders have been returned, and they are now waiting on the customer returns.
While Enterprise products in the food giants’ SADC export markets will also be recalled, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zambia have implemented a ban on the import of ready-to-eat meat products from South Africa.
On Monday, Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence MacDougall said there was no direct link between their products and the deaths attributed to the listeriosis outbreak. He claimed that Enterprise products and their facilities “surpassed” South African standards, conforming to European standards.
Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja has advised people to “avoid throwing the products in the rubbish bin, and (should) send them back to the supermarket where they were purchased.” Most retailers across the country have indicated that they will refund any of the implicated products’ purchase price in full, with some waiving the proof-of-purchase requirement.
Proper disposal of infected products is crucial, since mixing it with general refuse could compromise the health of the thousands of waste pickers working in landfills around the country.
Retailers will work with the Department of Health and waste management companies to ensure that all returned products are destroyed safely.