Consumers going cold turkey on processed meat

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Consumers going cold turkey on processed meat

People are not touching cold meat as shopkeepers count the costs in returned stock

Journalist

The recent outbreak of listeriosis has seen many people shy away from all kinds of cold meat, with one Shoprite store in Johannesburg counting about R26,000 worth of returned stock in just one day.
On Friday, the food chain store also recalled its Farmer’s Deli  smoked and red viennas after it received a notification from an environmental health practitioner in the Winelands District of the Western Cape that listeria monocytogenes had been identified in an initial testing of a single batch of red viennas.
But customers have opted to stay away from cold meat regardless of the brand. Whether it is  Eskort, Mighty Meat, Classic or the in-house brand, shoppers are avoiding buying any processed meat, according to shopkeepers visited by Times Select.This is despite Shoprite, Pick n Pay and Spar putting up notices that only the Enterprise products, which include Bokkie, Renown, Lifestyle, Mielie Kip and Rainbow products, were removed from their shelves as soon as Health Minister  Aaron Motsoaledi instructed all shops to do so.
Several managers at these shops said their sales of cold meat this past week were non-existent. Instead, managers were counting returned stock every day.
“There was a time where we counted R19,000 worth of stock on the Enterprise polony returned and about R7,000 on the Rainbow Chicken. Every day people return stuff,” said the manager of a Shoprite store in Johannesburg.Shopper Mercy Mkhabela said a polony sandwich was such a cheap and convenient addition to her children’s lunch boxes, but now she could not take the risk.
“I do not trust any product now. I give my children eggs and sometimes I must wake up early to make them fish for lunch. It is tough but I cannot put their lives at risk knowingly.”Pick n Pay group executive, strategy and corporate affairs, David North, said the announcement of listeria’s cause had affected the sale of cooked meat products.“Since the announcement, customers have been seeking reassurance that the food they buy is safe.  Pick n Pay brand products are not made in the affected facilities, and are perfectly safe to eat. Immediately after the product recall, we made it clear to customers that they could return affected  products to our stores for a full refund. Quite a few customers have returned products and we have thanked them for doing so,” he said.
Kota Joe operations manager Lindsey Lottering said they had to  withdraw polony, pork products and cold meats from their menu until a full investigation had been done. But now all their suppliers have given them a letter assuring them their products are safe for consumption. 
“Customers have asked about our polony but we do explain what initiatives we have taken to protect them from the outbreak. I do not feel that we will see any serious impact on our stores with this regard going forward,” said Lottering.

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