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Tiger Brands tells shareholders it found Listeria outbreak strain

Tiger Brands told shareholders Wednesday that its testing confirms the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) findings that the outbreak strain Listeria monocytogenes ST6 was present in its processed meat plant. That is the strain responsible for the largest listeriosis outbreak ever recorded with 1,119 confirmed cases and 199 deaths to date.

“To Tiger Brands’ credit, it has been transparent with its test results,” food safety attorney Bill Marler wrote in his personal blog. “Its transparency support of the NICD findings is hopeful for its customers that suffered as a result of the Listeria-tainted product. Tiger Brands should be commended for its willingness to provide the results in a public forum.”

Marler, who is also the publisher of Food Safety News, is consulting with the South African legal team suing Tiger Brand on behalf the victims.

Here is the Tiger Brands’ announcement in full:

Results of Independent Tests carried out in respect of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes ST6 type (“LST6”) Shareholders are referred to the SENS announcement issued by the Company on 5 March 2018, relating to an order issued by the National Consumer Commission for the Company to conduct a recall of certain identified Enterprise products. In that announcement, it was stated that in a batch of one of its products tested by the Company on 14 February 2018, the presence of the ST6 strain could not be confirmed and that the relevant samples had been sent to an external laboratory for the identification of the strain. The test results were received on 15 March 2018, but these had proved inconclusive and, as a result, the samples were sent for further re-testing.

The purpose of this announcement is to update shareholders on the results of the independent laboratory re-testing which was carried out in respect of the presence of LST6 in the above samples which were manufactured at the Enterprise Polokwane processing facility. On 24 April 2018, Tiger Brands received confirmation of the presence of LST6 in these samples. As reported previously, we have been actively engaging with the Department of Health and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases on our findings and will continue to collaborate with them on the actions taken to date to actively address our findings.

The Enterprise facilities in Polokwane, Pretoria, and Germiston still remain closed while remedial work continues. An arrangement has been concluded between Pork Packers (which is based in Clayville) and our pig suppliers to contract slaughter on their behalf with effect from 2 May 2018.

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