Questions raised in national newspaper over meat safety inspections. Letter reproduced courtesy of Pretoria News.
A meat and poultry wholesaler and importer was recently fined more than R1million for trading in “unsafe” meat. Surprisingly this hardly made local news.
There was no confirmation of the source of this product, whether locally produced or imported, and if imported, what was the country of origin?
Two years ago, South Africa tragically suffered more than 200 deaths due to a listeria virus that had emanated from local food processing facilities.
Is our meat and poultry, locally produced, manufactured or grown, as well as imported products, adequately tested for human and animal consumption?
South Africa imports 800 000 tons of meat and poultry annually. That’s metric tons not kilograms. The question arises: What percentage of this is tested?
I have been told that testing is “risk based”. What does this mean? The same applies to local meat and poultry. Surely there should be more transparency here.
Does South Africa have the resources and trained expertise to conduct ongoing meat safety inspections and tests, including the relevant facilities?
Are full inspections of all contents in every container arriving at our ports mandatory? If not, why not? To what extent are we at risk?
DENNIS WILSON, Morningside