The source of the ‘worst outbreak’ of listeria in South Africa was confirmed yesterday by health minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, as coming from processed meat plants in Polokwane and Germiston.

Hortgro, the organisation representing the deciduous fruit industry, believes it is a relief that the source has been found. The deciduous fruit industry reiterates its previous statement that there is no connection between deciduous fruit and the listeria outbreak.

“Our products have always been grown, handled and packed under strict internationally-acknowledged food safety protocols and conditions. A recent member-survey about facilities and products tested confirmed this,” said Jacques du Preez, general manager for trade and markets at Hortgro.

According to Du Preez, the industry takes food safety very seriously and in light of the outbreak, Hortgro urged packhouses and producers to undertake extra-precautionary measures and do extra testing on fresh fruit. So far, there were no positive listeria results reported.

“According to our knowledge listeria has never been found on fresh South African stone or pome fruit. South Africa has an outstanding reputation as a credible and reliable source of safe and excellent quality fresh fruit.”

For more information: HORTGRO