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Origin of imported frozen chicken in the spotlight

THE FOUNDER of the FairPlay anti-dumping movement, Francois Baird, this week appealed to the Commissioner of the National Consumer Commission, Ebrahim Mohamed, to launch an investigation into the labelling practices of frozen imported chicken that is being dumped in South Africa.

This follows after FairPlay was dismayed to discover bulk packs of chicken for sale at a major retailer with a label claiming nine possible countries of origin.

“In the event of illness or contamination, it would be impossible to trace this product back to the countr y, exporter or abattoir concerned,” he writes.

“I believe your commission should act to prevent wholesalers and retailers from designating repackaged frozen packs as the product of multiple countries”

He attached a photograph of a 3kg pack of imported chicken, purchased at Makro in Woodmead on November 28. As you will see, it is marked: “Product of Netherlands and/or Germany and/or Argentina and/or Brazil and/or United Kingdom and/or France and/or Spain and/or Canada and/or United States.”

“This small pack comes potentially from nine countries on three continents. This is dangerous from a food safety and traceability point of view. In the event of illness or contamination, it would be impossible to trace this product back to the country concerned.

“It is also bad from a consumer information point of view, as the consumer cannot judge accurately which countr y, or even continent, the chicken comes from.” Baird writes that this is not the only instance of multi-country origins being given on imported chicken he has come across.

“These chicken portions are imported in frozen bulk packs and then repackaged, sometimes in unsafe conditions, for the local market.

“In the interests of consumer safety, this should not happen. You have the power to prevent it. I appeal to you to investigate and stop this practice,” Baird writes.

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