Listeriosis shuts down factory
THE listeriosis outbreak has forced an Empangeni factory to suspend all its production, while they wait for a forensic laboratory report from the Department of Health to know whether or not the factory is free of the bacteria.
Factory management told its employees on Thursday not to report to duty until they receive the report.
However, the employees were not happy with the decision, arguing that they have nothing to do with the outbreak.
The Provincial Secretary of the United Chemical Industries Mining Electrical
State Health and Aligned Workers Union, Bheki Shabane, said the workers are very disappointed and angry.
‘We are shocked that our members were suspended with immediate effect, without any prior notice,’ said Shabane.
Best Grade factory managing director, Nkululeko Luthuli, told the ZO they had no choice but to suspend all their production activities until the Department of Health provides them with proof their factory is not contaminated.
‘On 5 February, our facilities were inspected by the Department of Health and this month, during our meeting, the official stated that owing to backlogs at state laboratories, our results have not been returned and there is no definite timeline as to when this will happen.
‘It is vital to mention that our factory and our products have not been implicated in the listeria outbreak, but owing to the seriousness of the matter, the pressure on the processed meat industry and customers wanting certainty about products, we decided to take precautionary measures,’ said Luthuli.
Luthuli also said that all workers will be paid their full salaries at the end of this month.
An attempt to get comment from the Department of Health was unsuccessful.