They took away something that I was waiting for almost eight years of my life.”

Over the course of their first eight years of marriage, South African Thenjiwe Dodo and her husband tried to have a child. In 2018, after eight years, and eight miscarriages, Thenjiwe was one month away from delivering her firstborn.

Thenjiwe Dodo’s son died 16 days after birth.

Thenjiwe was extra careful about what she ate while pregnant, knowing the fragility of the life inside her.  At eight months into her pregnancy, Thenjiwe had no way of knowing that Tiger Brand polony was contaminated with Listeria.

“When I bought the polony I knew I could trust them with my life. And I knew that because I was pregnant, I needed to eat more healthy than ever,” she told Food Safety News.

The Tiger Brands polony listeriosis outbreak began at the start of 2017 and was officially declared over in September 2018 with 1,065 confirmed cases and at least 218 deaths. 

Thenjiwe suffered through a terrible bout of listeriosis that left her and her child’s life in danger,  At the time, she had no idea it was connected to the polony she had eaten. It wasn’t until thousands of others in South Africa became sick, and the connection was made to the polony, that Thenjiwe remembered having had the Tiger Brand product before her illness. 

Though Thenjiwe recovered from her lengthy fight with listeriosis, and she gave birth. Her newborn son was severely impacted by the infection and died just 16 days after his birth.

Thenjiwe has a lot of anger toward Tiger brands.

I do not buy anything from that brand anymore. They took away something that I was waiting for almost eight years of my life.”

Along with the 1,000 people affected by the Tiger Brand’s listeriosis outbreak, Thenjiwe is represented by Richard Spoor Attorneys and is still in a legal battle with the company over damages caused by the outbreak.

Tiger Brands has been fighting the lawsuit relating to its part in the deadly outbreak. The Seattle firm of Marler Clark LLP is serving as a consultant for the case attorneys. The attorneys are representing the victims on a contingency basis, meaning without charging them. 

To read about the impact of this outbreak, please see:

  • Tiger Brands outbreak killed young mother, leaving her twin sisters to raise her daughter
  • Mother describes uncertain future for her daughter after listeriosis infection
  • Uncertainty after the outbreak — ‘My niece may not know her father has died
  • Parents describe their baby’s ongoing treatment and their fears for his future

More background information about the 2017-2018 South Africa Listeria outbreak can be found here.

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