RCL Foods says there must be a mistake because independent tests have cleared them and they don’t own the facility in Polokwane.
Rainbow Foods say they stand by their independent test results that proved their products do not contain the listeria “outbreak strain”, repudiating Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi’s claim that listeria was present in their factory in the Free State.
According to RCL Foods, “the minister said the listeriosis outbreak has been traced to a polony facility in Polokwane”. The facility is not owned by RCL Foods.
The minister also stated in the same statement that Rainbow polony products they have tested do not contain the listeria ST6 ‘outbreak strain’.
“RCL Foods’ tests were conducted by an independent laboratory in France, considered to be a leading expert in this field, and they have confirmed that our Wolwehoek plant is clear of the ST6 listeria strain.”
Department of health spokesperson Popo Maja said they agree with the company that the French laboratory is “a reputable internationally recognised laboratory”.
“This much was confirmed by the World Health Organisation.”
But he says the announcement of the results by RCL does not “in any way alter the actions” of the department.
“The real point is that listeria monocytogenes were found in their Wolwehoek factory, which has not changed since the press conference.
“We made it clear at that press conference that we only had results of whole genome sequencing for the Enterprise Foods Polokwane production facility. We further clarify that for the RCL Foods Wolwehoek production facility in Sasolburg, we only have results of culture so far and that 14% of the environmental samples tested positive for listeria monocytogenes. We are awaiting whole genome sequencing results early next week,” said Maja.
RCL foods acknowledged the listeriosis outbreak as a tragedy and said they would continue to support national efforts to inform as many people as they can about food safety and listeria.
Chisom Jenniffer Okoye