Fac­tory cleared to re­open af­ter lis­te­rio­sis cri­sis

The Herald (South Africa) - - News - Wendy Knowler

Tiger Brands was given the green light by health au­thor­i­ties on Thurs­day to re­open its polony-pro­duc­ing Polok­wane plant, named as the source of the world’s most deadly lis­te­rio­sis out­break in March.

The an­nounce­ment comes just three days af­ter the Jo­han­nes­burg High Court granted an order cer­ti­fy­ing a class ac­tion against Tiger Brands, which will de­ter­mine whether the com­pany is li­able for the out­break.

The le­gal case re­lies on the fact that the out­break strain of lis­te­ria mono­cy­to­genes, which in­fected 91% of the peo­ple who died‚ was found at the En­ter­prise fac­tory in Polok­wane.

Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence Mac­Dougall stressed in his an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day that “no li­a­bil­ity has been es­tab­lished against the com­pany for the lis­te­rio­sis out­break”.

“The le­gal process of the class ac­tion must still take its course,” he said.

The com­pany is to co-fund a com­mu­ni­ca­tion cam­paign to no­tify the vic­tims and fam­i­lies of the more than 200 who died, of the class ac­tion.

Of the 1,065 con­firmed cases, only 150 are cur­rently rep­re­sented by the two firms of at­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing the vic­tims – Richard Spoor At­tor­ney and LHL At­tor­neys.

Tiger Brands said its le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives had worked closely with the at­tor­neys for the class ac­tion to help ex­pe­dite the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process.

Richard Spoor con­firmed on Thurs­day that Tiger Brands had paid R1m to­wards the me­dia cam­paign – “and we will con­trib­ute the same amount”.

“We would have had to mount a far more ex­ten­sive, ex­pen­sive cam­paign were it not for health min­is­ter Aaron Mot­soaledi’s will­ing­ness to send no­tices about the class ac­tion to its data­base of doc­tors, [labs] and many of the vic­tims.”

Spoor said the firms’ con­tri­bu­tion to the me­dia cam­paign, and many of their other con­sid­er­able ex­penses re­lated to the lis­te­rio­sis class ac­tion, were be­ing met by the US-based firm of at­tor­neys, Mar­ler Clark, which spe­cialises in food­borne dis­ease out­break lit­i­ga­tion world­wide.

Mean­while, for the first time since March, the Polok­wane plant is to be­gin pro­duc­ing polony, vi­en­nas and other ready-to-eat pro­cessed meats.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.