Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence Mac Dougall.
CAPE TOWN - Tiger Brands briefed the media on the listeriosis outbreak at their offices in Sandton, Johannesburg.

The company has been forced to recall all their products from retail shelves after the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, ordered a recall on of processed meat manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow. 

Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence MacDougall began the media briefing by admitting that “any loss of life is devastating” for the company.  On February 2, a delegation by Tiger Brands visited the Enterprise factory in Polokwane. 

MacDougall said that they have their own micro-laboratories at Enterprise factory in Polokwane and samples were sent to an external laboratory for the identification of the strain found in the listeriosis disease. 

MacDougall noted that the results are only expected before the end of the day.  The initial results that Enterprise received showed that the bacteria were negative. 

It was at this stage that the company decided to halt production until they could ascertain the result of the outbreak. A specific team was brought in.  MacDougall said that production of affected products had been halted, as earlier reported by a number media houses.  Enterprise has also set up a hotline in order to deal with customer complaints. 

MacDougall made it very clear that there are no deaths linked to Enterprise's products.  Tiger Brands believes that they as a company are “doing everything they can” in order to get to the bottom of this situation. 

MacDougall and therefore Tiger Brands said during questioning that he can’t guess what the link is to Enterprise's food products and the listeriosis deaths. What he did make clear was that Tiger Brands has increased their health protocols.

MacDougall said they have not received any official documents from government as yet. But the company believes that they have gone way beyond what is expected of them from the Department of Health.  Tiger Brands first priority is the consumer, according to the CEO. The health and safety of the consumer is paramount and this relates to getting the affected products off the shelves, said MacDougall.

The CEO said that Tiger Brands is still working on the current financial ramifications of the product recalls and their share price dropping 7% in early trade.  What is certain is that Tiger Brands and Enterprise is committed to working with government. 

The company is also ready or will be ready for any lawsuits that may come their way.   When asked when was the last time the CEO ate polony, he replied that he ate viennas and sausages just 4 days ago and they were Enterprise products. 



-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE