Hundreds of customers have flocked to the South African factories suspected of being the source of the listeriosis infection which has claimed at least 180 lives in the last 14 months.
Members of the public are demanding refunds for some of the meat products they bought and some are returning the goods.
South Africa’s Health Minister Arron Motsoaledi told a media briefing the Enterprize facility in Germiston, east of Johannesburg, was the source of the outbreak.
But he said everyone had a role to play – including agriculture, trade and industry and local municipalities – as he blamed a long food chain and a lack of stringent controls.
He said: “There was no way that they were going to have this outbreak if there was no lapse. It definitely means there was a lapse, there was no good quality control.”
The food items the minister demanded be removed from shop shelves include Russian and Vienna sausages, as well as the cold meat polony.
Two of South Africa’s largest supermarket chains, Pick n Pay and Woolworths, have wasted no time in removing any products associated with the outbreak.
A Pick n Pay spokesman told TimesLive they would also be cleaning all their fridges to avoid cross-contamination.
National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said the bacterium is widely distributed in natural environment such as soil, water and contaminated food.
Companies implicated in the outbreak are yet to make their statements public.