Listeria Class Action Filed Against Tiger Brands and Enterprise Foods


JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – A Listeria class action lawsuit will be filed Thursday against Tiger Brands Limited and Enterprise Foods in the High Court of South Africa to seek compensation for the hundreds of persons contaminated by the companies’ products. 

The complaint was filed on behalf ten class representative applicants: Montlha Welhemina Ngobeni, Clinton Gregory Chinula, Tebogo Ntjana, Philip George Coetzee, Presendrie Govender, Annelize Le Roux, Xolile Bosch, Rajesh Kumar Misra, Sebastian Laurent Stephen Schwagele-Fan Moritz, and Shereze Curtis. Each applicant represents a group of people affected by the outbreak. The offices of Richard Spoor filed the lawsuit in consultation with United States Food Safety Law Firm, Marler Clark. Currently, the firm represents almost 70 people in the class action with new victims reaching out every day.

For the purpose of this class action, there are four classes: individuals who contacted a Listeria infection but did not die, individuals who contracted the infection in utero but did not die, individuals who were dependent upon other individuals who died as a consequence of their Listeria infection, and individuals responsible for taking care of other individuals who contacted a Listeria infection.

In December 2017, the South Africa Department of Health announced a Listeria outbreak. As of March 13, 2018 there are 978 laboratory-confirmed cases reported to the NICD from all provinces since January 1, 2017. Of the 978 cases, there have been 183 deaths.

According to the Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi:

Following the lead from the tests performed on these children from Soweto and the food they had ingested, the EHPs (Environmental Health Practitioners), together with the NICD and DAFF representatives, accompanied by 3 technical advisors from the World Health Organization in Geneva, visited a food- production site in Polokwane and conducted an extensive food product and environmental sampling.

Listeria monocytogenes was isolated from over 30% of the environmental samples collected from this site, which happens to be the Enterprise factory in Polokwane.

To conclude the investigation, whole genome sequencing analysis was performed from this Enterprise factory and the results became available midnight or last night. The outbreak strain, ST6, was confirmed in at least 16 environmental samples collected from this Enterprise facility.

THE CONCLUSION FROM THIS IS THAT THE SOURCE OF THE PRESENT OUTBREAK CAN BE CONFIRMED TO BE THE ENTERPRISE FOOD-PRODUCTION FACILITY IN POLOKWANE

Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) is a foodborne disease-causing bacteria; the disease caused by the ingestion of Listeria bacteria is called listeriosis. Listeria can invade the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, Listeria can travel through the blood stream; it invades and grows best in the central nervous system among immune compromised persons, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection). In pregnant women, the fetus can become infected with Listeria, leading to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, or sepsis (blood infection) in infancy.

More information on Listeria and the class action lawsuit, including the court papers, can be found at https://listeriaclassaction.co.za.

Richard Spoor has been seeking compensation for workers’ injuries and defending community land rights for more than 25 years.

Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the United States’ leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $650 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the United States with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.