Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. FILE PHOTO: ANA

JOHANNESBURG - 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.

Earlier this month Motsoaledi named Tiger Group’s Enterprise products as the source of listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis.

However, FAWU cited the Escourt business that produces/processes these ready-to-eat meant as an example of a firm affected by the "unclear" announcement. 

"The minister ought to have repeatedly made it clear that it is only the RCL Foods division and not the RCL Chicken that is red-flagged,” said Masemola.

Masemola said both  Escourt and RCL Chicken products have seen the drop in sales, which he attributed to the health minister's announcement. 

"The consequence will be that illegally dumped and illicitly traded products will take over and jobs, estimated at thousands, were now at stake," warned the union.

- African News Agency (ANA)