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Popular sandwich shops bear brunt of listeria scare

Mom and pop stores take strain.

As South Africa grapples with the world’s worst listeria outbreak, it is small mom-and-pop stores that dot places like the black township of Soweto that are taking a financial hit as customers fear for their lives.

Ntsintsi’s Fun Food’s popular “kota” sandwich – a hollowed-out quarter loaf filled with spicy mango condiment, french fries and a popular ready-to-eat cold meat called polony – has to undergo a makeover after health authorities traced the listeria outbreak to a polony factory.

“We have to change our game. But the problem we’re going to have is affordability – don’t forget French (polony) and viennas (hot dogs) are the cheapest things that you can get,” said Thabang Matomela, manager at Ntsintsi’s.

“But now if we have to reinvent the kota and have a prego (marinated beef) steak, or have even fish in it, although it did have it, which means the price is going to a bit high. Now who’s going to afford it again?”

Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the source of the disease, which has killed 180 people since December last year, was found after pre-school children fell ill after eating polony, which is made from cooked ground meat, similar to American baloney or a cheaper form of Italian mortadella.

Motsoaledi urged South Africans to not eat any processed meat even though the department’s agency ordered a recall of three cold meat products that include polony, prompting a frenzied clearing of shelves by retailers.

The UN World Health Organisation called the outbreak the largest ever recorded globally, after 948 cases were reported since January 2017. Listeria causes flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhea and infection of the bloodstream and brain.

Neighbouring states also acted swiftly. Kenya, Zimbabwe and Zambia banned imports of South African processed meat, dairy products, vegetables and fruit. Mozambique and Namibia halted imports of the processed meat items and Botswana said it was recalling them. Malawi stepped up screening of South African food imports.

“I’m scared for the kids more than anything. I’m scared to give it to them because I heard that it’s been around for a while, so when I saw it on TV, I realised even more that it’s dangerous,” Tshepiso Mpelane, a concerned parent said.

However, among those who eat it, polony – also a staple in school lunch boxes – is royalty in sandwiches and removing it from the menu would be an assault on the way of life.

“Listeriosis? What’s that?” said Linda Mwansa a 22-year-old mobile phone saleswoman in the Zambian capital Lusaka. “We don’t have such things in Zambia and I am not going to stop eating polony just because there are problems far away in South Africa.”


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So HIV and AIDS could not kill Africa, Is listeriosis the new weapon… Bravo Tiger Brands, Bravo to you…

How many farmers were murdered? What did the government do?

How many deaths have been recorded in countries Enterprise exports to?

Deaths from this outbreak have been recorded as far away as Australia….I very much doubt it was because the Ozzie’s love our Polony! This is just another one of these obscure virus/ diseases/ bacteria’s that hit an over populated world randomly…in my opinion. Remember Zika…foot and mouth…SARS ( no, not that one !). Bird flu, swine flu etc etc? They come and go wrecking panic in their wake….but also opportunity – good time to buy Tigers at a discount

Australia now has 4 deaths caused by Rockmelon…my point is not only polony

PS. are we sure this is not just another Viceroy scare story??? Check to see that they haven’t been shorting various shares in this sector.

my sentiment also….this whole thing blow out of proportion and lots of moneys are going to be made by someone!

The health dept. just another government dept. failing to do it’s job- full of excuses. the only way to get things done is by paying a ”prezent”.
never mind township hygiene, i do’nt even buy from Steers or Spur anymore their product has become very dodgy.

Traveling in India at the moment. Street food is fresh and tasty and almost entirely vegitarian. Also extremely cheap and a lot healthier than hot dogs. Can eat good sized meal for R30.

I was explicitly warned NOT to eat street food in India. Good luck to you though!

Bee Bob – my point is that this outbreak is happening in other countries too – Polony, melons whatever…it’s just sad that two companies ( Tiger Brands and Rainbow) are carrying the can for this…neither of them have anything to do with Melons! So let’s concentrate on really finding the source and not finding scapegoats

Agree..we must not stop at polony eg why is it all quite on Rainbow side

A friend send me the media announcement made by Motsoaledi via WhatsApp…couldn’t believe a “educated” man gave such a speech…..couldn’t wait to blame someone fast enough.

How a minister gives a speech is not important, what is important is the message he or she conveys…. Maybe its time our politicians speak in their own languages through interpreters. That will create jobs, don’t you think? I have never heard Putin, Merkel, Xi and even Macron or even Trump speak English in public address…. we South Africans have an inferiority complex. Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is not English…. Get that into your thick skull. Polony is killing people.

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