Almost 22 tons of imported Irish cheddar cheese was destroyed last week because it was contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the Milk Producers' Organisation (MPO) said.
"The results were confirmed by independent tests conducted on request of the exporter and the consignment was rejected by [Durban] Port Health," chief executive Bertus de Jongh said in a statement.
Some strains of Escherichia coli – commonly known as E. coli – bacteria can cause food poisoning, urinary tract infections, and neonatal meningitis.
The MPO appealed to local authorities not to allow Irish dairy products into South Africa until their safety had been confirmed.
This was because imported dairy products often did not meet South African health and safety standards.
The low prices of many Irish dairy products could also damage the local dairy industry, De Jongh said.
(Sapa, November 2011)