Windhoek — Meatco is greatly shocked and appalled by an image of its Eloolo canned beef product being circulated on social media along with alarming articles on meat products that are unrelated to Meatco, saying it has nothing to do with the deadly outbreak of listeria in South Africa.
The largest listeria outbreak has claimed 180 lives and sickened nearly 1,000 people in neighbouring South Africa, prompting Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to ban the importation from South Africa of all processed meat products such as polony, the source of the current outbreak.
Meatco, therefore, categorically cautioned the public to stop spreading the image of its Eloolo canned beef product because the product and all other Meatco products pose no threat connected to listeria or the articles relating to news in South Africa.
Jethro Kwenani, the corporate communications officer at Meatco, says the company will vigorously monitor social media and other platforms in relation to listeria and he appealed to the public "to not spread news that may cause harm to our world-renowned and loved Meatco products".
"Given all the processing in the abattoirs, it is essential that quality assurance is maintained. All Meatco's processes are in keeping with international standards, and testing of the meat is done daily at Meatco's internal laboratory," reassured Meatco's quality assurance executive, Rosa Katjivena.
"Due to our stringent quality assurance methods, Meatco would like to guarantee the safety and quality of all our products," she confirmed.
Meanwhile, South Africa's health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, has urged the public to stop consuming ready-to-eat processed food products such as polony, viennas and chicken sausages.
The minister confirmed the source of the listeria outbreak has been traced to an Enterprise food production factory in Polokwane in Limpopo province.
The outbreak has claimed the lives of 180 people countrywide with the number of confirmed listeria cases having risen to 946.
Motsoaledi briefed the media at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg late Sunday afternoon. Motsoaledi said there is a massive recall of ready-to-eat processed foods normally stored in fridges.
The minister appealed to the public who have these products in their fridges to take them out and clean their fridges thoroughly. He says the products must be packed away until an announcement is made soon on how they should be treated.
He says while those in good health can still take a chance and eat polony, chicken sausages and viennas, those who are advised against eating them at all are pregnant women, people with TB, HIV and AIDS, as well as the elderly.