SOUTH AFRICA – South African based Pioneer Foods has initiated the recall of a specific batch of Raw Cashew nuts, Peanuts & Raisins sold under its Safari brand in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia due to Salmonella contamination.

According to a company statement, routine testing at the Safari production site in KwaZulu-Natal, identified a batch of the product which tested positive for low levels of Salmonella typhimurium.

The company revealed that based on safety protocols, production was immediately halted, the product placed on hold and ringfenced.

The production site was then deep-cleaned, and vector sampling completed before production was recommenced.

However, on 17 November 2021, a limited number of cases of Safari 100g Raw Cashews with Best Before dates of 27/6/2022 and 60g Safari Peanuts & Raisins with Best Before dates of 27/10/2022 were released to the trade, despite having been isolated and ringfenced for destruction.

“The affected product should never have been released into trade, and whilst we have not received any health-related complaints from consumers to date, we have decided to proceed to proactively recall this product,” explains Tertius Carstens, CEO.

He informed that the company has managed to retrieve more than 60% of the impacted product distributed in Botswana at the time of this communication.

The only Safari products affected are the two mentioned hence all other Safari products remain safe for consumption and should not be removed from trade.

“We have already engaged the Ministry of Health in Botswana and our in-country distributor (Bokomo Botswana) will continue to work closely with the authorities to remove all affected products from trade,” says Pioneer Foods.

Consumers who are in possession of the recalled product have been urged to return the product to the retailer from which they were purchased in order to receive a full refund.

As reported by Food For Mzansi, Deborah-Ann Sharwood, Communications Manager for Pioneer Foods, said that while they have managed to retrieve 92% of the affected products, the recall process continues.

“It must be assumed that the remainder has most likely been purchased by consumers, hence the consumer recall,” she said.

Consumers concerned over recall

Pioneer Foods had earlier in October recalled its Liquifruit and Ceres Apple juice brands owing to elevated levels of mould toxins.

Another recall in just two months has raised an eyebrow among consumers, questioning whether the company is experiencing difficulty with its food safety standards and practices.

The company has however assured consumers of its quality management and control system citing that it’s the system that managed to identify and attend to the risk.

“But as reported, unfortunately, a number of cases were inadvertently dispatched. The investigation to identify the root cause of this is in process,” Sharwood added.

NCC probes Howe Instant Noodles supplier following children’s deaths

Meanwhile, South Africa’s National Consumer Commission (NCC) is investigating Grandisyn CC, the supplier of Howe Instant Noodles, stating that the commission has “reasonable suspicion” that the Uitenhage-based company “supplied unsafe goods or goods that posed a potential risk to the public”.

The suspicion is based on information provided to the commission by other regulators and the supplier, the watchdog says.

The investigation follows the deaths of three children in the Eastern Cape in November after they reportedly ate noodles.

Shortly after, a pair of siblings in Mpumalanga died, also allegedly after eating instant noodles. The Department of Health subsequently announced it was investigating cases of possible food poisoning in both provinces, as well as Gauteng.

Acting National Consumer Commissioner Thezi Mabuza says that while the commission is awaiting laboratory results, this investigation will help it understand the nature, causes, extent, and degree of the risk to the public.

“As regulators in the food safety environment, we will get to the bottom of this matter to ensure that those liable are held accountable,” Mabuza says.

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