LISTERIA RELATED  PRESS RELEASES
LISTERIA PRESS RELEASES
Tiger Brands responds to the certification of the listeriosis Class Action - 3 December 2018
Tiger Brands to reopen its Germiston meat processing facility - 12 October 2018
Tiger brands listeria update - 26 april 2018
Tiger Brands Listeria Update
On 24 April, Tiger Brands received independent laboratory tests which confirm the presence of LST6 in samples of finished ready-to-eat processed meat products from its Polokwane Enterprise Foods manufacturing facility. This follows a previous announcement that the presence of the ST6 strain in a batch of previously tested products could not be confirmed, and that the relevant samples had been sent to an external laboratory for retesting. The results pertain to the detection of listeria in samples of product found on the 14th of February.
Commenting on the results, CEO Lawrence Mac Dougall says, “We are enormously disappointed by this development. We are making every effort to ascertain how ST6 arrived in a product manufactured in our production facility in Polokwane, despite us adhering strictly to all the prevailing industry standards. We again apologise to our customers, even as we still try to determine how it had happened. We pride ourselves on our food safety standards and a long track record of producing safe and reliable foodstuff. We are simply devastated to learn that one of our products contained ST6.”
“This company has existed for more than ninety years. It will not shirk its responsibilities to its customers. I can give you my personal assurance that we will leave no stone unturned to do what is right. We will continue to do the right thing, as we have endeavoured to do since news first broke.”
“The Listeriosis outbreak has been a terrible blight on the entire ready-to-eat meat industry. It is imperative for the entire industry come together to agree on appropriate standards with Government. The world including South Africa will have to adapt to the threat of Listeriosis. It is not a problem which is unique to South Africa or for that matter to Enterprise Foods. We are working tirelessly with industry and Government to collaborate on a new approach in the interests of safeguarding the health and safety of consumers.” concludes Mac Dougall.
tiger brands listeria update - 29 march 2018
Institution of Class Action by Richard Spoor Attorneys, as well as results of tests carried out on behalf of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (“NICD”) relating to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes ST6 (“LST6”).
On 29 March 2018, the Company and Enterprise Foods were served with an application issued by Richard Spoor Attorneys for an order declaring the constitution of four classes of claimants who will seek compensation from the Company and Enterprise Foods as a consequence of the involvement of the Company and Enterprise Foods in the listeriosis outbreak.
The applicants propose a class action comprising four classes of persons.
The first class comprises individuals who contracted listeriosis – but did not die – as a consequence of consuming Enterprise products. The second class comprises individuals who, while in utero, contracted listeriosis – but did not die – as a consequence of their mothers’ consuming Enterprise products. The third class comprises individuals who were dependent upon other individuals who contracted listeriosis and subsequently died as a consequence of consuming Enterprise products. The fourth class comprises individuals who are and/or were responsible for the maintenance of or were in fact maintaining, other individuals who contracted listeriosis from consuming Enterprise products, whether they died as a consequence of the infection or not.
The applicants propose to launch the class action in two stages. In the first stage, the applicants will seek a declaratory order establishing the nature and extent of the liability of the Company and Enterprise Foods to the various classes. The second stage, assuming liability is established, will be to determine whether the individual claimants ingested contaminated product, contracted Listeria, and suffered damages.
Stage one will proceed on an “opt out” basis; stage two will proceed on an “opt in” basis.
It is not possible at this early stage to calculate the damages to which the claimants would be entitled if the liability of the Company and Enterprise Foods is established.
Results of tests carried out on behalf of the NICD for the presence of LST6
On Wednesday 28 March 2018, the Department of Health provided the Company with a summary of results of culture identification and whole genome sequencing performed for the NICD based on Listeria monocytogenes isolates, which they indicated were obtained from ready-to-eat products produced by the Company’s Value-Added Meat Products division.
LST6 was found in seven of the products.
The Company has not had access to the underlying source material analysed on behalf of the NICD nor the details of the tests conducted. At this stage, these results have not been independently verified by the Company. The detailed investigations by the Company continue.
Message from Tiger Brands’ CEO
“It is extremely distressing that despite more than meeting food industry safety standards, there is an indication by the NICD that LST6 has been found in some of our products,” says CEO Lawrence Mac Dougall.
“While we continue our own detailed investigations to verify the NICD results, we remain committed to doing the right thing if any liability is established on our part for illness or death. I am deeply sorry and offer our sincere condolences to those people who have been affected by the listeriosis outbreak in SA. One cannot put a price on life.
“Food safety remains Tiger Brands’ highest priority. We will always place consumers’ health and safety above all else. Tiger Brands will continue working with the authorities towards curbing this outbreak and ensuring that the public is kept safe. Listeria is a complex global health challenge, and not enough is known about the bacteria and how it mutates. Current South African food industry standards do not detect the LST6 strain, and we urgently need industry and government to collaborate to revise these standards and ensure that South Africans are kept safe.”
“Tiger Brands has a long heritage in South Africa. We are working hard to ensure that we restore trust through our actions and promise to deal with this honestly and with integrity, and we will continue to assume a leading role in resolving it.”
tiger brands listeria update - 26 march 2018
Tiger Brands Listeria Update
Tiger Brands released a statement on Monday, March 19, announcing two sets of results of testing for Listeria at its ready-to-eat chilled process meat production facilities.
Test results from February
On Thursday,15 March, Tiger Brands received independent laboratory testing results that confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the physical plant environment at the Enterprise Foods Factory in Polokwane. Our independent testing confirmed the findings of the Department of Health for the presence of ST6 strain of Listeria monocytogenes in the environment. In addition, there was a positive detection of Listeria ST6 (LST6) on the outer casing of two samples. Whether this presence of LST6 can be said to have caused any illness or death remains unclear at present and testing in that regard is an ongoing process likely to take time.
The Department of Health did not find the presence of Listeria in their product samples. Tiger Brands closed the Polokwane and Germiston Enterprise factories on 4 March 2018. These factories remain closed while we undertake efforts to understand how LST6 came into our factory. All of the Enterprise ready to eat meat products have been recalled and are no longer available for sale.
Test results from March
Tiger Brands continued extensive testing of our products and production facilities beyond Polokwane and Germiston, and discovered the presence of very low levels of Listeria at the Pretoria meat processing factory. These results have been sent for whole genome sequencing to determine whether ST6 is present or not at the facility. The results will only become available in due course.
Although the level detected was well within the range of government standards for the presence of Listeria, Tiger Brands has taken the precautionary measure of closing the factory and has instituted a product recall of all Snax products manufactured at the Pretoria factory with immediate effect. In addition, we will be sending samples for genome sequencing to establish the specific strain of Listeria.
Given the suspension of operations at the Polokwane, Germiston and Pretoria sites, which are the primary recipients of the production of the Company’s Clayville abattoir, operations at the Clayville abattoir will be wound down with the objective of suspending operations completely at the end of March 2018.
Comment from Tiger Brands CEO
“At Tiger Brands, we promised our stakeholders that we will not compromise on quality, safety and internal controls. These are values and principles that I have actively communicated since being appointed CEO 18 months ago. It is therefore devastating that despite this focus and ensuring that we more than meet legislated industry standards, test results show that Listeria ST6 has been found in the environment at our Polokwane facility. The Department of Health has reported that people have lost their lives as a result of Listeriosis and according to the Minister of Health, 90% of these are as a result of LST6. Although no link has, as yet, been confirmed between the presence of LST6 at our Polokwane plant and the loss of life I deeply regret any loss of life and I want to offer my heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones. Any loss of life, no matter the circumstance, is tragic.” says Lawrence Mac Dougall, CEO of Tiger Brands.
“We acknowledge that we are dealing with a national crisis and want to assure the public that in the event that a tangible link is established between our products and listeriosis illnesses or fatalities, Tiger Brands will take steps to consider and address any valid claims which may be made against it in due course.”
“During this period of investigation and discovery we have decided to be extra cautious and to take immediate precautionary action when traces of Listeria are detected where they are not expected. We are investing all our time and energy into not only understanding the cause of the LST6 detection, but also how it could have come into our facility. Local and international experts are helping us put measures in place to prevent this happening again in any of our meat processing facilities. While every effort is being made to get to the bottom of this outbreak it will take time to complete our investigation.”
“Tiger Brands is working with a team comprising some of the world’s leading local and international scientific experts in listeria management. Our Polokwane, Germiston and Pretoria factories are undergoing an extensive deep clean of all the equipment, machinery and some structural upgrades of the facilities with the view of ensuring that our facilities exceed the highest, best practice standards for meat processing facilities. We will continue to work closely with the Capricorn and Ekurhuleni Departments of Health as we progress with these remedial actions.”
“Listeriosis is a complex and global challenge with increasing outbreaks and mortality rate caused by a variety of food sources. Other potential sources of listeria may well exist and hence a country wide response is needed to address the tragic consequences of listeriosis. A sustainable national solution for South Africa will only be achievable through a collaborative multi-sectoral approach involving industry, government, regulators, scientific experts and civil society groupings.”
“A key focus will need to be reviewing and revising the current standards to take into consideration the unique South African context. Tiger Brands would like to be at the forefront and play a leading role in this initiative,” concluded Mac Dougall.
We will use this webpage and other media to keep you updated and will update this statement as soon as we have new information to share with you.