RCL – statement regarding listeriosis outbreak
Stakeholders are referred to the media statement issued by the Minister of Health on 4 March 2018, relating to the recent outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa. In the media statement the Minister announced that it was concluded that the source of the current listeriosis outbreak was polony from a production facility in Polokwane, which is not owned by the Company.
The Minister further announced that an investigation of RCL FOODS’ Wolwehoek production facility is also underway, where polony products have tested positive for L. monocytogenes, although the sequence types of the isolates are NOT ST6(being the sequence type of listeriosis that has driven the current outbreak). The National Consumer Commission has, however, issued precautionary safety recall notices for polony products from both of these facilities. RCL FOODS’ board and management remain deeply concerned about this tragic outbreak, and its effect on many South Africans. It is being treated as a crisis internally, and a senior team is in contact with all relevant stakeholders to discuss the significant impacts of this issue.
RCL FOODS can confirm that its Wolwehoek processing plant has taken the pre- cautionary measure to suspend all production of RCL FOODS’ Rainbow Polony brand. Additionally, it is in the process of recalling all Rainbow Polony products from its entire customer base. This is despite the fact that the results from testing of its environmental samples are still pending. In line with the Department of Health’s (DoH) announcement, it must be highlighted that the specific strain of pathogen responsible for the outbreak has not been linked to the Wolwehoek facility. RCL FOODS is continuing its detailed discussions and is working closely with representatives from the DoH, the Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (DAFF), and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). RCL FOODS is sharing all results from its testing, both internally and externally, with the relevant authorities.
In line with RCL FOODS’ strict food safety protocol, the Company has rigorous food safety procedures in place which include our own regular product and environmental testing, and these have been further strengthened as a precautionary measure in recent months. Rigid controls remain in place to mitigate any food safety risks, including microbiological risks, at all of our food production facilities. RCL FOODS will continue to take every precaution to safeguard its products as well as its consumers.
All RCL FOODS facilities are FSSC (Food Safety System Certification) 22000 or ISO 22000 compliant. As part of RCL FOODS’ Food Safety Management System (FSMS) the company follows strict procedures for pathogen management. These include but are not limited to:
*Hazard identification and Risk Assessments;
*Raw material management (SQA, Microbiological verification);
*Procedures to prevent cross contamination; and
*RCL – staScheduled testing of products and processing environments.
Additional announcements will be made in due course.
Stakeholders should note that it has been stated on social media commentary that Enterprise forms part of RCL FOODS. RCL FOODS is not the owner of Enterprise and does not manufacture any of its products.