Health ministry lashes out at RCL Foods over listeriosis statement

Health ministry lashes out at RCL Foods over listeriosis statement

RCL Foods on Friday announced test results for the ST6 strain of listeriosis at its Sasolburg facility were negative.

health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi
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Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has criticised RCL Food's latest statement on the listeriosis outbreak, describing it as "tricks" and "greed".


On Friday, the company announced its Rainbow Chicken facility in Sasolburg tested negative for ST6 listeria - the strain of the air-borne disease linked to the current outbreak.


"Tests conducted by an independent laboratory in France, which is considered to be a leading expert in this field, have shown that the plant is clear of the ST6 listeria strain." 


ALSO READ: Rainbow Foods concludes listeriosis tests


But in early March the department announced health workers picked up another strain of the disease in Sasolburg.


"Polony products have tested positive for L. monocytogenes, but the sequence types of the isolates are NOT ST6. However, such contamination of ready-to-eat processed meat products constitutes a health risk," the department said in a statement.


Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says he met with RCL Foods on Friday and advised against releasing the statement.


"I advised them, I said guys: please don't take shortcuts if it's human life," says Motsoaledi.


Motsoaledi claims to have advised the company to rather clean its facility and allow health authorities to conduct more tests.


So far a total of 978 cases have been reported and 183 people have died from the disease since January 2017.

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