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SADC on high Listeria alert

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Botswana, along with her SADC counterparts Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia and Malawi have all recalled South African processed meat products after a deadly listeria outbreak.

The outbreak claimed 180 lives in South Africa. Tiger Brands issued a recall on their cold meats following listeria being found in their polony. Rainbow Chickens’ polony was also recalled. 

“(Ministry) asks that all owners of establishments that commercialise these products start to withdraw from the shelves due to the danger that this constitutes to health,” a statement from Mozambique’s ministry of agriculture and food security said. Zambia’s high commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba, urged South African retail chain stores operating in Zambia to recall ready-to-eat meat products imported from that country following the confirmation of the source of listeria bacteria.

The Malawi Competition and Fair Trading Commission on Monday asked wholesalers and retailers to remove imported meat products from South Africa from their shelves, and Namibia on Monday suspended imports of processed meat.

Lawrence McDougall, the CEO of Tiger Brands told a news conference the company had not yet worked out the financial impact of suspending production at two of the company’s factories that were linked to the outbreak.

MacDougall did acknowledge that the government had linked the ST6 strain of listeria bacteria detected in Enterprise facilities with the outbreak that has resulted in 180 deaths.

“We are being extra cautious and vigilant, we are recalling all products made from the two facilities” affected, he said, adding that the government had only ordered the company to withdraw three product lines.

“Any loss of life is tragic. It is devastating for me to have our products linked to this outbreak.”
Recalls

Enterprise-branded products accounted for 28.2 percent of processed meat sales in South Africa in 2017. The local market was worth R6.02-billion last year alone.

Tiger Brands, one of South Africa’s food giants, made pre-tax profits of R4.27-billion in 2017.
Shoprite and Pick n Pay, have also pulled products made by Rainbow Chickens after Motsoaledi confirmed that listeriosis had been identified in samples taken from one of its facilities.

Motsoaledi said on Sunday that Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken’s registration to export their products outside of South Africa had been temporarily suspended.
As fears of listeria continued to rise in South Africa, several other smaller food retailers have also announced product recalls.
Woolworths announced it was recalling dozens of sausage and ham products “as an additional precautionary measure”.
The United Nations has previously said South Africa’s listeriosis outbreak is believed to be the largest-ever worldwide.
The infection mainly affects children and has a three-week incubation period, making it difficult to track.
Contamination in humans — especially those with compromised immune systems — can result in flu-like illness, infection of the bloodstream and, in severe cases, infection of the brain which can prove fatal.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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