Most shoppers in Gatesville are not perturbed by the threat of contracting listeriosis, and many businesses say the outbreak has not affected their sales at all.
There have been many funny memes distributed on social media about the gatsby being affected, since the Department of Health recalled all processed meat products manufactured by Enterprise and Rainbow Chickens, on Sunday March 4. This includes polony and viennas.
The recall notice was issued following the death of 183 South Africans who were infected by a bacterium, which was traced to Enterprise factories in Polokwane and Germiston.
The Department of Health advised the public not to consume ready-to-eat processed meat products. Rainbow Chicken products have also been implicated and recalled.
In Gatesville however, it was business as usual.
Food sales, and especially gatsby sales at Golden Dish, the popular fast food outlet in Gatesville, seem not to have been affected at all.
Rafiq Parker said most of his customers did not question him about the safety of the processed meat they sold. Only one couple enquired about their polony and viennas, he said.
“After I explained to them that our suppliers have assured us that the products are safe, this couple ordered a vienna and polony gatsby.
“On a more serious note – our customers are aware that we operate on a system of trust. Our customers know we will not sell them anything we ourselves won’t eat. We are always on our suppliers’ case to make sure that they uphold to the strictest hygiene practices. Our products are also halaal, and therefore we do not use Enterprise, or Rainbow Chicken products. It seems the entire industry is being condemned because of two giants in the industry,” Mr Parker said.
The South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA) terminated its certification of Rainbow Chicken processed products such as polony, viennas, nuggets, strips, schnitzels and other crumbed products in 2011, after the introduction of non-approved imported Brazilian meats, and failure to provide information, according to Sanha’s website.
There is no change in the halaal status of the fresh and frozen Rainbow chickens, however, which are slaughtered and processed at a separate halaal-certified site.
Golden Dish customer Razeen Bassadien said he tried to persuade his friend, Morne Anderson, that the viennas were safe to eat, but the latter chose to be on the safe side and ordered a boerewors gatsby instead.
“Razeen was laughing at me, because I looked at the menu, and decided to steer clear of the vienna gatsby. This listeriosis thing is the hype now,” Mr Anderson said.
Mr Bassadien added: “I tried to explain to him that the products are halaal, and therefore we can buy the polony, but he wanted to hear nothing about that.”
Suraya Shaik, who runs Gool-Nur Street Cafe, and has boerewors rolls on her menu, said the threat of listeriosis had not affected her business at all.
“None of our customers asked us about the safety of our boerewors. I think people are well informed. We have been trading here since 1999, and people know and trust us,” Ms Shaik said.
The owner of a Gatesville butcher, who didn’t want himself or his store identified, said many of his customers had asked about their products.
“We have tried to allay our customers’ concerns by explaining to them that our suppliers are all approved and are listeria-free,” he said. See page 6