Business Insider Edition

Recall of pilchards at Shoprite, Checkers: ‘Bloated’ cans could make consumers sick

Business Insider SA
 Feb 23, 2020, 05:10 PM
  • A "canning deficiency" at a processing factory may cause cans of pilchards to bloat.
  • There is a small chance that consumers could fall ill due to the problem, a representative of the company said.
  • The 400g cans of pilchards in tomato sauce - which are sold under the Checkers, Shoprite and OK house brands - have been recalled.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.

Faulty canning at a processing factory in St Helena Bay may cause cans of pilchards to bloat, which could make consumers sick.

On Saturday, West Point Processors recalled cans of 400g pilchards in tomato sauce – including those sold under the Shoprite, Checkers and OK house brands.

A representative of West Point Processors told Business Insider that a canning mishap could lead the cans to “bloat”.

He said consumers would know immediately if something was wrong with the affected cans, given that they would be massively extended.

While not confirmed by West Point, typically cans swell up from excess carbon dioxide gas – which usually build up from poorly processed food. West Point has only said that a “canning deficiency” lead to the recall.

A representative of the company said that if you eat pilchards from the bloated cans, you may end up sick.

He stressed that the chance of that happening is “slim to none”, and that the recall was a precautionary step.

The affected brands are Cape Point and Saldanha as well as Shoprite Ritebrand, Checkers Housebrand, U-brand and OK Housebrand.  Shoprite urged consumers to check their food cupboards and return the recalled product to its stores for a refund.

The 400g Pilchards in Tomato Sauce cans which have the specific batch codes starting with ZST2 and ZSC2 (as indicated in the picture below) must be returned immediately to the stores:

West Point processed some 1.8 million cans of pilchards in the year to end-June 2018, according to its part-owner Terrasan’s  latest annual report.

Pilchards are a big part of the South African diet – and represent 70% of the seafood consumed in South Africa, according to an academic report published in 2017.  The Lucky Start brand control some 80% of the market.

Given that they are a relatively cheap source of protein, canned pilchards are exempt from VAT in South Africa and a firm favourite of finance minister Tito Mboweni:

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