South Africa's Tiger Brands to fight listeria class action
JOHANNESBURG, April 17 (Reuters) - South Africa's leading
food producer Tiger Brands said on Wednesday it will
fight a class action lawsuit over its role in the world's
largest ever listeria outbreak.
The listeriosis outbreak, the infection caused by the
bacteria, killed more than 200 people in South Africa last year
and was traced back to a factory run by Tiger Brands-owned
Tiger Brands confirmed to the stock exchange that it had
received a summons with respect to the class action lawsuit,
which has been in the offing for some time.
"The company intends to defend the class action," the
statement said, adding it would follow due legal process and
issue further updates when appropriate.
The company's shares were down 0.9 percent at 0811 GMT.
The amount of damages being claimed was not identified in
the summons, it continued, because the first stage of the class
action is concerned with liability and not damages, which will
be dealt with at a subsequent stage once there has been a ruling
It said that the plaintiffs are seeking damages under the
terms of the Consumer Protection Act and for exemplary, punitive
or constitutional damages, which Tiger Brands said it has been
advised are not recognised in South African law.
While the company has product liability insurance cover,
this does not include cover for exemplary or punitive damages,
which are damages intended to punish the defendant for its
conduct and deter it and others from similar behaviour in
Listeriosis causes flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhoea and
infection of the blood and brain. It poses a higher risk for
newborns, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weak
(Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Louise Heavens)
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