An important step in protecting public health in South Africa would be the establishment of a statutory Food Safety Agency. FairPlay called for such an agency after the listeriosis outbreak in 2018 that claimed more than 200 lives, and has done so again now.
The food safety agency was promised and President Ramaphosa told Parliament it would happen. Parliament let him down, and the inter-departmental committee that was working on it was not re-established after the 2019 elections.
Covid-19 has shown why public health must be a top priority. It’s time to dust off those plans and make the Food Safety Agency a reality. Particularly one with powers to name and act against food safety offenders.
More in this topic: Read our op-ed on the need for a Food Safety Agency.