* Outbreak killed 180 people since January 2017
* Source identified as brand of processed cold meat
* Products recalled, consumers told to avoid ready-to-eat meat (Adds RCL comment)
By James Macharia
JOHANNESBURG, March 4 (Reuters) – South Africans were told on Sunday not to consume ready-to-eat processed meat as the government identified the source of a listeria outbreak that has killed 180 people as a cold meat product made by the country’s biggest consumer foods group.
The meat, known as “polony”, made by Tiger Brands unit Enterprise Food and by RCL Foods, would be recalled from stores, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.
“We advise members of the public to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat,” Motsoaledi said, adding that, due to the risk of cross-contamination, all such foods were a potential health hazard.
“We can now conclude scientifically that the source of the present outbreak is the Enterprise Food production facility located in Polokwane,” Motsoaledi told a briefing at the offices of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.