Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency

Johannesburg - A meeting between business organisations and Limpopo provincial government with businesses late Monday following the identification of Polokwane's Entreprise food plant as source of deadly listeriosis bacteria.  

Spokesman Phuti Seloba said government environmental practitioners were hard at work conducting further tests in the province. 

"Limpopo provincial government is extremely concerned about the health hazard posed by the processed meat products found to be having traces of listeriosis," Seloba said in a statement.

"The provincial government will this afternoon have meetings with the producers and chamber of businesses to prepare a recall strategy and make further announcement to the public in due course." 

The Enterprise food production facility in Polokwane in Limpopo was identified by the Department of Health as the source of the current listeriosis outbreak in South Africa. 

Enterprise brand is owned by packaged food giant Tiger Brands. However on Monday, Tiger Brands refused to take responsibility for the outbreak of listeriosis, denying any direct links between the deaths of 180 people and its products. 

At a press conference in Johannesburg, Tiger Brands chief executive Laurence MacDoughall said that consumer safety was of paramount importance to the company, hence it had decided to embark on a "voluntary recall" of its products as part of corrective steps in response to the health department identifying processed meats as one of the sources of the food-borne virus. 

MacDoughall admitted that they had detected low levels of listeriosis in February, but said that affected products were quarantined and production of affected products had been halted.

"There is no direct link or correlation with the deaths to our products, not that we are aware of at this point. I cannot apologise for something I am not clear about. I am not aware of any civil lawsuit against the company" he said.

"We have always acted with urgency whenever the Department of Health or the National Consumer Commission made us aware of any concerns. Our products have consistently tested below the 10 CFUs/g testing." 

African News Agency/ANA