Food safety

Parliament’s food safety committee missing in inaction

FairPlay has for some time been raising the failure of parliament to re-establish the joint inter-departmental committee on food safety.

FairPlay understands that the committee, which was working on details of a proposed national food safety agency, was not reconstituted after the 2019 general election. We have called for it to be re-established so that it can complete its work.

DA agriculture spokesperson Annette Steyn has confirmed in their week’s edition of Farmers Weekly that the committee has not met since the last election.

“The last time I can recall was after the last major outbreak of listeriosis,” she told the publication. 

“The committee was already very concerned about a few major issues. The majority of these concerns have not been addressed.”

The listeriosis outbreak of 2017/18 killed more than 200 people. That was when FairPlay first called for the establishment of a statutory food safety committee with powers of investigation and prosecution. We have repeated that call at regular intervals since then.

Perhaps it is time for Madam Speaker to look into the matter when parliament reconvenes.