Businessman Phillip Sibia queues to return meat from the Enterprise factory store in Germiston, East of Johannesburg. The outbreak of listeriosis was traced to a Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL
Businessman Phillip Sibia queues to return meat from the Enterprise factory store in Germiston, East of Johannesburg. The outbreak of listeriosis was traced to a Enterprise Foods facility in Polokwane. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/ALAISTER RUSSELL

Tiger Brands, which faces two class action lawsuits over a listeria outbreak that has killed almost 200 people, said on Wednesday that results from an independent laboratory confirmed the presence of the deadly listeria strain in one of its food factories.

In March, the government, which has been criticised for taking too long to find the cause linked the outbreak to polony made by Tiger Brands’ Enterprise Food in Polokwane.

"On April 24 2018, Tiger Brands received confirmation of the presence of LST6 in these samples," it said in a statement released at 5.15pm on Sens on Wednesday.

In March, the company stated that in a batch of one of its products tested by it in February, the presence of the ST6 strain could not be confirmed and the relevant samples had been sent to an external laboratory for the identification of the strain.

The test results were received on March 15, but these had proved inconclusive and, as a result, the samples were sent for further testing.

The samples were manufactured at the Enterprise Polokwane processing facility, which has since been closed, along with other three sites in SA that produce polony and other cold meats.

Tiger Brands said in March it had received notice of two class action suits against the firm, with the total claimed estimated at R425m.

Reuters