Tiger Brands allowed to reopen Polokwane facility after listeria outbreak

Capricorn Municipality’s Environmental Health Department has issued a Certificate of Acceptability for the Polokwane facility, which allows the factory to start production again.  The facility (along with another in Germiston) was shut down in March following the detection of Listeria Monocytogenes in the plant.   


The listeriosis outbreak, which claimed more than 200 lives, has cost Tiger Brands millions of rands.  That cost is set to rise further, due to the class action suit from the victims and families of the victims, which was certified by the court on 3rd December 2018.


The facility has been thoroughly assessed by the local Environmental Health Department to determine if their standards and procedures are sufficient to ensure the production of safe food.   According to Tiger Brands’ CEO, Lawrence Mac Dougall, “The Department of Health has referred the industry to the CODEX standard, which says that for finished ready-to-eat products which promote growth of the bacteria, there must be zero listeria detection in products, both as they leave the factories as well as to the point of sale.”


The industry is also now mandated to implement HACCP regulations (R607 Regulations Relating to the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System (HACCP System): Amendment) which were released on the 14 June 2018, having been amended to include meat and poultry.  HACCP ensures the identification and management of hazards in order to manage risks.


Enterprise Foods has added a 7-Step Quality Check process to further ensure product safety for their consumers, by offering  transparency across the entire farm-to-table value chain.


“As a company, we are committed to acting with integrity, honesty and transparency, and placing consumers at the heart of our decisions. This includes how we managed the recall process and safe destruction of products, the stringent focus on further bolstering our facilities against future threats, collaborating with the attorneys for the Class Action, and working toward improving South Africa’s food safety system holistically,” concluded Mac Dougall.