The profits of pork producers have dropped by 40% since the listeriosis outbreak. South Africa’s pork industry experienced an overnight crisis losing millions after the recall of ready-to-eat processed foods had a negative impact on the industry. Viennas and pork sausages can contain anywhere between 2% and 25% of pork.
According to the SA Pork Producer’s Organisation, the perception that all meat cold cuts and ready-to-eat meat products contain listeria has resulted in the closure of a pork processing plant in KwaZulu-Natal.
Another 2000 people lost their jobs after the Department of Health identified the polony from Tiger Brands’ Enterprise Polokwane factory as the source of the outbreak.
The company has had to close their Germiston factory, as well as their Clayville abattoir.
New and small-scale pork farmers may be impacted the most, as they will not be able to supply clients with pork at the same scale as commercial farmers. There are 125 commercial pig farmers in South Africa, and 400 upcoming pig farmers, according to the organisation.
Nearly 50% of the pork industry’s production is processed into ready-to-eat products, chops and bacon. The other 50% are carcasses which are sent to the pork meat market.
Members of the SA Meat Processor’s Association have seen a 75% drop in the demand for processed meat products, while pork cold cuts have dropped by 50%. This means that the predicted losses for meat processors stands at R800-million per month estimate.
Johann Kotzé, CEO of the SA Pork Producer’s Organisation, said small-scale pig farmers are suffering the most. “The pork industry is one where what you put in is put out immediately, so there is no time for stock to be backed up. The product needs to be distributed immediately. Small-scale farmers are now battling to keep up with this demand, as they do not have the same capacity and large staff as commercial, bigger-scale pig farming. Their livelihood is in danger,” Kotze said.
In 2017, 2.8-million pigs were slaughtered. This equates to 54 000 pigs per week.
Meanwhile, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NCID) says that the number of listeriosis infections in South Africa has decreased since the outbreak was discovered a month ago.