South African retailers have had to remove processed meat from Enterprise Foods to deal with the listeriosis outbreak.
JOHANNESBURG - The Pork industry has warned that it stood to lose billions of rand following the outbreak of listeriosis in the country.

Producers said prices had declined sharply after Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi called on people to stay away from all polonies, cold meats, sausages and viennas in an effort to curb the outbreak, which has already claimed more than 180 lives in the country.

Veteran pork producer Dalein Heyl said prices had dropped from an average of R28/kg to R18/kg.

Heyl said the prices were way below input cost margins.

He said the industry needed prices to be normalised to about R23/kg to survive.

“Currently, we are below our break-even point. We are in a desperate situation because producers are price takers and not price makers.”

Tiger Brands has steadfastly denied any link between its products and the listeriosis.

Heyl called on Motsoaledi to come out and admit he made a mistake by calling for people to stay away from all polonies and cold meats, adding that pork had nothing to do with listeriosis.

“We urgently plead with people to go back to buying pork,” he said.

However, Motsoaledi has hit back, charging that he had never singled out pork.

Motsoaledi said he mentioned polony among other cold meats.

“I can’t change that, because that’s exactly what has killed people,” Motsoaledi said. “I have got no apology to offer them. They are attacking the messenger.”