The listeriosis crisis has tumbled South Africa’s pork industry into an overnight crisis.
Profits of pork producers have dropped as much as 40%, which resulted in millions of rands of losses for pig farmers, since the outbreak.
Johann Kotzé, CEO of the SA Pork Producer’s Organisation, says that the recall of meat cold cuts and ready to eat meat products has negatively affected the pork industry.
Kotzé says that the perception that all meat cold cuts and ready to eat meat products could give people listeriosis has resulted in the demand of those products decreasing, which in turn has had a bad impact on the pork industry.
A pork processing facility in KwaZulu-Natal is reported to have closed its doors, with an estimated 2000 people said to have lost their jobs after the Department of Health identified that polony from Enterprise’s Polokwane factory, as the cause of the listeriosis epidemic.
Since the Enterprise factor had been identified as the cause of the outbreak the factory in Polokwane, the Enterprise factory in Germiston and their abattoir in Clayville has since been closed.
Kotzé says that new and small-scale farmers could be impacted the most, explaining that they would not be able to supply at the same scale as commercial farmers which could negatively impact them.
South Africa has about 125 commercial pig farmers and 400 upcoming pig farmers.
Polony is made up of between 0% and 2% pork, processed products like viennas and pork sausages have between 2% and 25% pork.
Altogether about 50% of the porks industry’s production is processed and the other 50% are carcasses that are sent to the pork meat market.
Arnold Prinsloo, chairperson of the SA Meat Processor’s Association said that members of his association had seen a 75% drop in the demand for polony and viennas and a 50% drop in other pork cold cuts.
Prinsloo added that the predicted losses for meat processors is estimated to be R800 million a month, that does not include the losses in the related industries.
In 2017, South Africa slaughtered 2,855 million pigs, about 54000 pigs per week.
Kotzé said that an overseeing body to look after the food industry could be a solution to ensure an incident like this can be prevented.