Astral Foods Limited (Astral) notes with concern a fake report, depicted as a ‘television news type screenshot’, being circulated via WhatsApp messaging and other social media platforms. The report states that some of Astral’s employees have tested positive for the coronavirus, and that the Minister of Health has ordered the shutdown of an Astral production facility.

False report

Astral dismissed the report as false and determined that the picture had been illegitimately produced. The company reported this to the relevant government platform provided for such fake news reports (fakenewsalert@dtps.gov.za).

No Astral employee has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), and Astral condemns this fake news in the strongest possible terms. The company would like to assure all its stakeholders, including shareholders, consumers, customers, suppliers and employees, that this false news story is completely unfounded.

Chris Schutte, CEO of Astral, commented: “We strongly caution against creating and spreading fake news such as this. It causes unnecessary alarm and in terms of the government regulations surrounding the national state of disaster, constitutes a criminal offence.”

Stringent hygiene protocols

Astral is following stringent hygiene protocols, and have implemented a multitude of measures to ensure the health and well-being of our staff during this period, especially at a time when as an essential service we have been called upon to ensure uninterrupted food supply to the nation. In addition, we want to assure consumers that all our poultry products are safe to eat.

“It is extremely unfortunate that at this time, when the whole of Astral and the poultry supply value chain are working under extremely difficult circumstances to rise to the Presidents call to maintain the supply of food to consumers, that some irresponsible person/s found it necessary to undermine these efforts by concocting this fake story,” concludes Schutte. – Press release, Astral