Food Product Liability and its Implications for Consumer Protection in South Africa: An Exposition of the Listeriosis Crisis
Food manufacturers’ liability for harm caused to consumers has gained prominence in South Africa since the outbreak of listeriosis. This crisis was ascribed to the negligence of manufacturers in taking preventive measures to curb the spread of food-borne intestinal diseases and ensuring that their products were safe. This article explores the legal recourse available to the victims of listeriosis by presenting the background and history of the outbreak and proceeds to discuss product liability under common law and the remedies for affected consumers under the South African Consumer Protection (CPA) Act 68 of 2000, compared to other jurisdictions. It is argued that the victims of listeriosis can base their claims for compensation on the delictual principles of product liability and consumer rights under CPA and common law. However, supplementary remedies, emanating from breach of legal duty and other constitutional damages, which may be available to the victims, are beyond the scope of this article.
Keywords: Product liability, listeriosis, Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2000, consumer rights