MPs want Tiger Brands and RCL foods to face prosecution over listeriosis deaths, and for the two companies to appear Parliament. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - MPs want Tiger Brands and RCL foods to face prosecution over listeriosis deaths, and for the two companies to appear Parliament.

This comes after the national department of health identified Enterprise Food and Rainbow chicken as the source of the listeriosis outbreak in the country.

Tiger Brands’ facilities in Germiston and Polokwane, and the Rainbow Chicken production in Sasolburg have been implicated after polony products at their facilities tested positive for the food-borne disease.

EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini said: “Both Rainbow chicken and Enterprise must come here and account on why they did not follow South African government and international food safety regulations. We need to hold them accountable, they need to be prosecuted”. 

Ntlangwini called on the department of health and agriculture as a matter of urgency, to strengthen inspection services to detect quality control transgression timeously. 

The outbreak claimed 180 lives, 78 of which were infants. 

Tiger Brands’ chief executive Lawrence MacDougall refused to take the blame for the loss of lives. During a media briefing, MacDougall said while the loss of any life was devastating for the company, he could not say if the fatalities were linked to their products.

IFP MP Narend Singh backed the EFF on their call to bring both RCL Foods and Tiger Brands to account for the loss of lives.

“The corporates entities that are involved in the spread of this bacteria into South Africa must be bare the legal responsibilities and consequences of their actions. No amount of false legal poetry can absolve them from bearing prime responsibility for the deaths and continued ill health of those affected by consuming these contaminated products,” said Singh. 

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has however assured MPs that those implicated will face the full might of law. He said the department will assist families affected in their pursuit for justice. 

“There is no way we are going to keep quiet. Laws are available to take people to account and they are going to be punished in terms of the available legislation. Those members of the community who want to litigate, we will give them all the information, we will give them all the data and expertise to help them litigate,” said Motsoaledi. 

Political Bureau