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Manufacturer says independent tests cleared its lollipops after incident where 40 Verulam primary school pupils fell ill

Manufacturer says independent tests cleared its lollipops after incident where 40 Verulam primary school pupils fell ill

Durban – Richester Foods revealed on Monday that preliminary test results from independent laboratory KLM High-Giene Solutions show that the XPop Energy Cola Fizz lollipops were not responsible for the recent health scare at a school in Verulam.

“The Mercury” reported on Sunday that about 40 pupils approached educators and complained of severe abdominal pains, breathing difficulties and nausea after consuming the lollipops bought at the school’s market day. The affected children ranged in age from 5 to 13.

Richester Foods identified the batch of lollipops and enlisted the services of an independent laboratory on Friday to conduct chemical and microbiological testing

The confectionery manufacturer’s managing director, Dr Hussein Cassim, said on Monday that after performing extensive tests on the lollipops, KLM High-Giene had failed to detect any bacterial contamination or causes that could relate to ill health.

A letter issued to Richester Foods by the laboratory and released by the company confirmed the results.

“We can therefore categorically confirm that, for the above-mentioned samples which were tested, zero counts of the following were detected: Coliforms, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and Bacillus cereus.

“We can further confirm that, based on the test results supplied (of the specified samples), the products were clear of any of the tested bacteria, thus rendering them microbiologically clean (from the tested organisms/bacteria),” said KLM director Khutsiso Kgole.

Cassim said while the company was still awaiting the final results, all the bacteria already listed by the laboratory’s preliminary results were those responsible for causing food poisoning.

He said the company had therefore shared these results with the school and other stakeholders in the hope that it would aid their own investigations into finding the real cause of the children’s illness.

“Our consumers are the heart of our business, and especially the children around the country and in KwaZulu-Natal who eat our sweets and our XPop lollipops every day. As a result, we take allegations of this nature very seriously,” said Cassim.

“Our thoughts are with these children, and we hope that the school’s management and relevant authorities will find the real culprit soon.

“Given the seriousness of the claims, we hope that these test results will address any lingering concerns, and we would urge the school and other stakeholders to keep investigating and checking for other possible causes,” he said.

THE MERCURY

Original Article