Appletiser recall South Africa
(Image: Coca-Cola South Africa)
  • Coca-Cola South Africa instituted a voluntary recall of Appletiser products on 23 September.
  • But the manufacturer refused to detail the exact reasons for the recall or how many individual products were affected.
  • This information came, instead, from an Australian food authority which raised the alarm on elevated levels of mycotoxin (patulin).
  • South Africa's National Consumer Commission confirmed the cause of the recall on Thursday, noting that 37,362 cases of Appletiser were affected.
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The recall of Appletiser products has been confirmed by South Africa's National Consumer Commission (NCC), with details of voluntary withdrawal – omitted by Coca-Cola – revealed.

Six batches of Appletiser products manufactured by Coca-Cola South Africa are being recalled over contamination concerns. This affects more than 37,000 cases of Appletiser cans and bottles that have already been distributed.

Coca-Cola South Africa first raised the alarm publically on Thursday 23 September, indicating that batches of Appletser products were "revealed to be outside of the acceptable standards" following standard quality testing. The manufacturer refused to provide further details of the recall, including the reasons for the withdrawal and the number of individual products impacted.

"We can't confirm numbers as yet as we are still investigating. For now, the attached [statement issued on 23 September] is our official statement on the matter," Lindiwe Zikalala, Coca-Cola South Africa's public affairs and communications representative, told Business Insider SA via email correspondence on Monday.

A similar recall in Australia, confirmed by the New South Wales (NSW) Food Authority, provided more information.

In a statement confirming that the affected products originated from South Africa, the NSW Food Authority said that the recall was due to higher than acceptable levels of patulin. "Products containing elevated levels of mycotoxin (patulin) may cause illness," said the Food Authority on Friday.

Elevated levels of patulin, produced by a variety of moulds most commonly found in rotting apples, has now been confirmed by South Africa’s own authority, the NCC. Consumption of patulin may cause nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, and vomiting according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"The company says the recall of 37,362 cases distributed nationwide is as a result of the presence of mycotoxin [patulin] exceeding 50μg/l in some of the batches at levels above permitted tolerance for fungus-produced toxins in foodstuffs," said the Acting NCC Commissioner, Thezi Mabuza, in a statement issued on Thursday.

"The risk of consuming mycotoxin [patulin] exceeding [50μg/l] may lead to vomiting, nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms. We urge consumers who bought these products from the following retailers: Makro, Pick n Pay, Boxer, OK Foods, Spar, Shoprite and Checkers, Game and Ultra Liquors to verify the best before date and if they form part of the recall, they should immediately return the products to any retail store for an exchange or replacement."

The recall affects the following products:

  • Appletiser 1250ml pet – best before 07 Nov 21;
  • Appletiser 750ml non-returnable glass – best before 30 May 22;
  • Appletiser 275ml non-returnable glass – best before 10 Jun 22;
  • Appletiser slend 330ml can – best before 18 May 22;
  • Appletiser slend 330ml can – best before 19 May 22;
  • Appletiser slend 330ml can – best before 23 May 22.

Coca-Cola previously noted that the best before (BB) dates can be identified on the top or bottom of the packaging.

"If anyone has purchased the Appletiser products from batches: BB 07NOV21, BB 30MAY22, BB 10JUN22, BB 18MAY22, BB 19MAY22, and?BB 23MAY22, please contact the call centre on 0860 112 526 and request for the collection and exchange of the product," Coca-Cola said in its initial statement.

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