Some KZN food manufacturers shut following COVID-19 outbreaks

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Food outlets in KZN have been hit by the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, with Tiger Brands the latest to feel its effects. It was forced to shut down one of its operations – Albany Bakery – after a COVID-19 outbreak at its South Coast Road, Durban, plant, according to The Mercury. The Fry Group Foods, in Westmead, Pinetown, and Gauteng-based beverage giant Coca-Cola have also ceased operations after reporting infections, adds the report.

Twelve employees from the administrative division of Albany Bakery tested positive for the virus. In a statement, Tiger Brands said that none of the infected employees worked on the production line or was involved in the delivery of the product to customers.

“Naturally, we appreciate that this may cause concerns around food safety regarding bread. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases) and the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), there is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.”

Tiger Brands said its bread – manufacturing process was highly automated – from mixing, to baking, to slicing, to sealing in tamper-proof bags and crating. It said it anticipated reopening the bakery by early next week.

Meanwhile, the Checkers store at Ballito Junction on the KZN North Coast has closed its doors after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week, notes another report in The Mercury. Staff were told to start self-quarantine for 14 days while the store was deep cleaned and decontaminated.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases and Department of Health have been informed. “The store was closed immediately and a professional decontamination company has been brought in to sanitise and deep clean it. The store will be reopened in consultation with the provincial Department of Health,” Shoprite said.

Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)

Full report in The Mercury (subscription needed)

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