SOUTH AFRICA – Namibia’s health ministry has instructed local environmental health practitioners to withdraw various KOO canned products, Hugo’s Baked Beans and Helderberg Peas, produced between 1 May 2019 and 5 May 2021, from Namibian shelves.

Canned products forming part of this recall cover various KOO canned vegetable products, excluding all KOO canned fruit products, KOO pilchards and KOO products packaged in glass.

South African manufacturer Tiger Brands recently issued a recall of some 20 million KOO and Hugo’s canned vegetable products, as they may have a defective side seam weld that could cause them to leak. The company said it identified the issue as part of its internal quality assurance processes.

“The Ministry of Health and Social Services, as the custodian of food safety in the country, is hereby requesting environmental health practitioners in the ministry, town councils and municipalities to recall the above-mentioned food products in the best interest of customers,” read a statement from the ministry’s executive director, Ben Nangombe.

Tiger Brands said via a statement the recall was effected due to a small number of defective cans supplied by a packaging supplier.

When contacted for the severity and impact on Namibian consumers, local distributor CIC Pty Ltd referred all queries to Tiger Brands.

According to a statement by the company, no health issues have been reported to date relating to the affected product range. The company echoed that although there is a low probability of illness and injury, matters of quality and food safety are an absolute priority for them.

Tiger Brands revealed that it initially took the recall decision in consultation with South Africa’s National Consumer Council (NCC) to initiate the precautionary withdrawal in the best interest of consumers.

It noted that affected products can be readily identified either via the pallet label, the date code on the can or the label that is affixed to the shrink-wrapped case.

Tiger Brands added it briefed its operational field team to identify impacted stock in stores as well as distribution centres where relevant.

“We would appreciate your urgent and full support in ensuring that the above-mentioned stock is placed on immediate hold at your stores and/or warehouses and returned to Tiger Brands for full credit,” said Luigi Ferrini, Tiger Brands chief customer officer.

Consumers are urged to return the products that form part of the recall, to the nearest supermarket or wholesale outlet for a refund.

COMESA Countries

The COMESA Competition Commission has enlightened that the recalled products were imported and marketed in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) implying that several African countries could also be affected.

Consequently, the Competition and Fair-Trading Commission in Malawi inspected shops in Lilongwe to assess availability of the recalled product on the market. Inspectors discovered that the cans are sold in some shops and supermarkets.

The commission counselled consumers who purchased the affected products to return them to the supplier and directed traders who have stocks of the cans to stop selling them.

In Botswana, the Competition and Consumer Authority (CCA) stated that CA Sales, the local distributor of the products, estimated the quantity of products in the market to be 60,000 units. They were available in most local chain stores and general dealers.

Australia and New Zealand
The Tiger Brands recall has outstretched as far as Australia and New Zealand.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has informed consumers that Sapro Australia, the country’s most trusted premier wholesale distributor of Southern African products. is recalling a variety of Koo brand vegetable products sold at independent retailers nationwide.

They are baked beans in tomato sauce; butter beans in flavored brine; butter beans in tomato sauce; corn creamstyle sweetcorn; whole kernel sweetcorn in brine; mixed vegetables in hot curry sauce; mixed vegetables in curry sauce; mixed vegetables in brine and baked beans in chili sauce.

In New Zealand, several importers recalled specific batches of Koo, Hugo’s and Helderberg brand canned vegetables, beans and spaghetti products.

As said by Food Safety News, Jumbo Importers Ltd, a UK-based South African importer also recalled various KOO canned products in England, Wales and Scotland, according to a notice posted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).