The South African poultry industry is hoping the government will approve a safety stamp on retail chicken packaging to show that the meat had been inspected and is safe.
Izaak Breitenbach of the SA Poultry Association (SAPA) told Farmers Weekly that there were particular concerns about the large volumes of frozen poultry meat that entered the country without any health and safety inspections.
South Africa imports 30% of its poultry meat, of which only 5% is inspected, he said. Some of this meat would be reworked, refrozen and sold to local consumers. Sometimes the thawed meat would be washed, repackaged and sold as fresh.
To combat this, SAPA is in consultation with the authorities to introduce a “safety stamp of approval” for meat that has been inspected by a health and safety officer.
“When this is approved, we’ll also be engaging with consumers, because we want them to make informed decisions. By doing this, stores will be pressured to stock only safe meat on their shelves,” Breitenbach said.
SAPA was also concerned about the low prices at which poultry product were entering the country.
“It currently costs at least R25 to produce a whole chicken anywhere in the world. However, there are whole chickens being shipped to South Africa for R18 each. This shows there are major problems with imports that are damaging to our markets.”