Ninety-three (85 percent) people reported eating ready-to-eat (RTE) processed meat products, of which polony was the most common followed by viennas/sausages and then other 'cold meats, ' he said.
The fact that the listeria bacteria was present in the meat plants that had now been shut down implied that they did not take effective measures to monitor the processes when the outbreak was made public months ago, according to Marie van der Merwe, acting chairperson of the South African National Consumer Union (SANCU).
RCL foods said it suspended all production of its polony brand at the Wolwehoek processing plant following the Motsoaledi's announcement. The outbreak was finally traced after infecting people for more than a year.
Customers were notified to return any Enterprise or Rainbow Chicken products bought at Food Lover's Market or Freshstop stores for a full refund, spokesperson Jean Harkett said in a statement on Tuesday.
The company was not conducting interviews, but told its shareholders via a Sens statement on Monday that it does not own the facility in Polokwane that the Department of Health is linking the listerosis outbreak to.
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Tiger Brands is to remove all Enterprise products from shelves following the linking of polony to listeriosis.
Harkett said all recalled products were being segregated and will be retained until they are removed from their stores by Tiger Brands and RCL Foods in accordance with their recall plans.
"I already packed my kids' lunch with this product, so I'm shocked", said Tshepo Makhura, a 37-year-old call centre agent, who had returned to one store to demand a refund. Mozambique and Namibia halted imports of the processed meat items and Botswana said it was recalling them.
"I lost trust with Enterprise. I would rather go back to peanut butter and jam".
Food safety is of paramount importance to Woolworths and we take all issues regarding the production of our food... It is also recalling all of its polony brands.