Since the outbreak of listeriosis in the country, South Africans have been worried about many of the foods they eat, including popular street foods like the kota (two thick slices of bread with a filling, usually polony) or Durban’s famous vetkoek-and-polony combination.
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced earlier this month that processed-food manufacturers Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken Limited had been issued with safety-recall notices after an in-depth investigation by scientists into the listeriosis outbreak - which has claimed 180 lives so far - found that the source was their factories.
Supermarkets around the country recalled processed meat products and removed them from their fridges. Some advised customers to bring back their processed foods, whether opened or not, for a full refund, even without a till slip.
The vetkoek-and-polony combination’s popularity is decreasing because people are afraid to eat polony.
Mohamed, a vetkoek seller in central Durban, said people had stopped asking for polony with their vetkoek.
“The sales have gone down a bit. Some people still buy the vetkoek, but not like before,” he said.
Another vetkoek seller said he did not bother to stock vetkoek and polony any more because “they just stay on the shelf the whole day”.
Shopkeeper Shakel Asahd said each day was different: “Sometimes when it is a busy day, people will buy, but the number of people buying it has gone down.”
The food sellers did not seem worried about the decreasing sales because they sold other convenience foods, which were being bought.
Some people took to Twitter to express their feelings about the matter. @the_saem tweeted: “The agony of eating igwinya (vetkoek) without polony (sad emojis).”
Mohammed hoped that people would get back to buying vetkoek again, but he would not be selling polony any time soon.
“I do not think people are going to buy polony as much as they used to before,” Mohamed said.