RCL cleared in South African listeriosis tragedy

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

South African processor proven to be listeriosis-free.
South African processor RCL Foods has been given the all-clear in the listeriosis outbreak which has hit the country.

So far, there have been almost 1,000 cases confirmed with 183 fatalities although there is a belief that this number could be much higher.

The Ministry of Health traced the outbreak back to an Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane although other processors took measures such as recalls and halting distribution.

In a statement from RCL’s chief legal officer Stephen Heath, the company said: “The listeriosis outbreak is a tragic event and of great concern to RCL Foods. The company expresses its heartfelt sympathy to everybody affected.

“RCL Foods is pleased to state that tests conducted by an independent laboratory in France, which is considered to be a leading expert in this field, have confirmed that our Wolwehoek plant is clear of the ST6 listeria strain.”

The business had recalled some products when the outbreak was addressed by the Minister of Health.

“Rainbow polony products from the Wolwehoek plant were recalled as a precautionary measure and the plant has been temporarily closed,”​ said Heath. “The recall does not affect any other RCL FOODS facilities or products, including fresh and frozen Rainbow chicken.”

Although RCL has not been a part of the listeriosis situation, the business said processors should be helping to educate consumers about food safety.

“The listeriosis outbreak has shown that more needs to be done to help consumers understand listeria and how they can protect themselves and their families. RCL Foods will continue to support national efforts that take the message about food safety and listeria to as wide an audience as possible.

“Food safety has always been of paramount importance to RCL Foods. More than a decade ago we embarked on a process to implement internationally recognised and independently verified quality and food safety systems such as FSSC (Food Safety System Certification) 22000 and ISO 22000 in our facilities. We will continue to review and further entrench our safety policies and procedures.”

Related topics: Safety & Legislation, South Africa, Poultry

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