Business dragging to a halt as Listeriosis panic holds market hostage … While producers rush to protect own products

The local ready-made-food products manufacturing industry is having sleepless nights over the panic that has been caused by the outbreak of Listeriosis and more so with an incident having been reported in Namibia.

A number of manufacturers issued out statements coming to the rescue of their on products which they pleaded as Listeriosis free but the fear in the market is set to impact business negatively.

Speaking to The Villager this week, Readibites Meat Market’s John Hayes said since the report of the Tsumeb man who fell ill, business has not been the same.  

“It’s killing us! People were understanding about the South African products and then there was a claim about the guy that got sick in Tsumeb. Since then business cut off. We are standing here and (we do) not even have a third of our production  that we used to have,” he said.

Hayes said his only hope is that things will get back so business can come around again with sanity in the market.

“We hope people will start realising that Namibian products are good. You also saw Meatco, those are big guys, they are also Listeriosis free,” he said.

Th producer is at pains in trying to communicate with his clients and retain trust, and asked by the Villager on what he was doing in this direction, he sighed, “I am working on it, that’s all I can say.”

Pressed on the conditions under which they procure products and manufacture, Hayes said non of those activities are linked to those of Rainbow and Enterprise.

“We produce things here ourselves so we are not using any of that Enterprise and those products they are using. We have certificates from our supplier and their products are being tested weekly and they are Listeriosis free. So we are also testing ourselves to keep the products free.”

Owner of another ready-made-food production company, Ry and Kry Slaghuis, Louwrens Knouds said people have since stopped buying his locally produced products grinding business to a halt.

“It is a problem. I talked to a guy right now, in the whole economy something is wrong. I do not know what is the problem. At my butchery, nobody is buying my products,” he said.

Meatco’s communications officer, Jethro Kwenani has said that although their products are not affected, the fact that there is a panic already is bad for business.

“It’s pretty concerning really the panic that is going on, and even the line ministry of agriculture came and talked about it but said it's only products from South Africa that are contaminated and nothing from Namibia is under threat. So people should keep this in mind.”

“But obviously we have sent a press release just to the public on what should be done when it comes to any of the meat products and so on and they should just adhere to those protocols given the case that was reported in Tsumeb,” he said.

Rwanda went ahead of Namibia last year to ban the importation of a wide range of meat, dairy products, vegetables and fruit products from South Africa (SA) following the outbreak of listeriosis.

Acting permanent secretary in the health ministry, Petronella Masabane, has already directed regions to monitor and tighten surveillance around these products

Listeriosis is a food-borne viral disease that causes fever, muscle aches and diarrhea among other gastro-intestinal symptoms.