Govt holds meat firms responsible for listeriosis outbreak - Motsoaledi

Cape Town - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Thursday that the companies which produce processed meat have the resourced labs to test products and should be held responsible for the listeriosis outbreak.

Motsoaledi was answering questions in Parliament about the management of the listeriosis outbreak.

On March 4 the Department of Health held a briefing, where the minister revealed that the source of the outbreak was an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane.

“What we found in the Enterprise laboratory in Polokwane is not acceptable,” said Motsoaledi.

Responding to a question about government's responsibility in the outbreak, he explained that the department had done its best in workshopping environmental care practitioners or health inspectors from municipalities.

However, municipalities are limited in their capacity to outmanoeuvre big companies.

“Big companies” have laboratories on site with scientists to test food, Motsoaledi explained.

“There is a law that a company that manufactures food must make sure they provide citizens with safe food, that is the job of the company to do so,” he said.

“I do not think there is a municipality that knows how to manufacture polony.” For this reason, government is holding companies responsible for the outbreak, he explained.

Motsoaledi would not speak on the specifics of which company is responsible, but said there is a process of litigation to determine who is liable.

Fin24 previously reported that there is a class action suit against Tiger Brands and [JSE:TBS] and Enterprise Foods, which have been implicated in the outbreak.

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