Retailers scrambled to remove Enterprise processed meat products from shelves after the announcement by the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, on Sunday that a production facility in Polokwane, Limpopo, was identified as the source of the listeriosis outbreak. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency/ANA
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s health minister said on Thursday the government would support anyone intending court action over the worst listeria outbreak in history that has killed 180 people since January last year.

A human rights lawyer has said he plans to launch a class action lawsuit against South African food producer Tiger Brands on behalf of the families of people who died after health authorities confirmed the presence of listeria at its factory in the northern city of Polokwane.

The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) on Thursday said it was disturbed by the "generalised and unclear public pronouncements" made by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi about the listeriosis outbreak.

FAWU General-Secretary Katishi Masemola said: “We call on the minister to clarify to the nation with concrete and clear statements as his pronouncements have created health scare and panic is the name of the game”.

The union claimed Motsoaledi failed to "clarify" that not all companies that produce ready-to-eat meat are to blame for the outbreak.

More than 180 people have succumbed to the disease . The WHO has described the listeriosis outbreak as the worst ever in the world.