Laboratory results have confirmed the presence of the deadly listeria virus, which killed more than 180 people in South Africa, in a factory in the country’s north, food company Tiger Brands said on Thursday.
The independent laboratory found the strain of listeria in Tiger Brands’ Polokwane factory, which produces products like polony, a cheap processed meat popular in poorer households, a company statement said.
The independent results come after the company said in March that products tested by its own laboratory in February did not confirm the strain.
South Africa’s ministry of health advised people to practice good hygiene and “to avoid all processed meat products that are sold as ready-to-eat” such as polony, vienna sausages and hotdogs.
Supermarket chains across the country withdrew processed meat products from their shelves.
But the health ministry has been criticised for acting too late, only after more than 100 people had died of listeriosis.
Some 940 cases have been recorded since January 2017.
Listeriosis results in flu-like symptoms with diarrhoea and vomiting and while not usually dangerous, pregnant women, newborn babies and people with weakened immune systems can be severely affected.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of people living with HIV in the world.