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What to do with millions of dodgy polonies?

So now we know what South Africa’s not-fit-for-consumption polony is good for – cement-making.

Having recalled its entire range of Enterprise and Snax processed meats in the wake of the Health Department’s revelation that its Polokwane plant was the source of South Africa’s deadly listeriosis outbreak, Tiger Brands had  a mountain of potentially lethal processed meat to get rid of.

A paragraph in the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) gave a hint as to what happened to all that “condemned” processed meat: “As of 29 May, 2,670 tons of recalled Enterprise and Snax products have been destroyed by thermal or landfill, according to certificates provided by Department of Environmental Affairs officials.”

That equates to 2.6 million 1kg polony rolls.

Probed for more information on “thermal and landfill” means of destruction (burnt and buried?) the NICD officials referred Times Select to the Department of Environmental Affairs.

An official who asked not to be named said: “The products have either been sent for treatment at a licensed healthcare risk waste treatment facility or a cement manufacturing facility, or for controlled disposal at a Class A (hazardous) landfill site.”

At the time of the recall in early March, Enterprise Foods had a 35.7% market share in South Africa’s processed meats industry, making it the largest producer of processed meats.

The NICD’s latest report puts the number of confirmed cases of listeriosis at 1,049, with 209 deaths.

In late April, Tiger Brands admitted that its independent tests had confirmed that the batch of processed meats that led the NICD to its factory door did indeed contain ST6, the unique strain of Listeria responsible for the world’s deadliest listeriosis outbreak.

Sales of polony and viennas are reported to have dropped by 70% since March, while that of other processed meats are down by 50%.


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