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Spar’s horror chicken makes news

News about Spar’s dodgy chicken led to a FairPlay letter being published, in The Citizen, on the health risks of improperly packaged imported chicken.


News about Spar’s dodgy chicken led to a FairPlay letter being published, in The Citizen, on the health risks of improperly packaged imported chicken. We have reproduced the letter, below:


Anthony Peris makes a very important point in his letter “Check all chickens extensively,” The Citizen Letters, 1 October). He is quite right to question the “risk-based checking protocol” that the state employs to check chicken imports for bacterial risks, including potentially life-threatening salmonella.


The health risks of improperly handled imported chicken is a disaster waiting to happen. Due to the seemingly unstoppable wave of chicken portions from especially Brazil, (which has been implicated in several food-safety scandals) but also chicken from the EU and the US, around 30% of the South African chicken market is currently being captured by predatory imports.


This is a massive volume of chicken to check, and the question is whether it is possible for the Department of Health to inspect every single consignment that enters our ports, as they should.


But there is another, more insidious problem. We believe that some importers thaw out the chicken that lands here then repackage and refreeze it before offering it for sale, particularly targeting the poor who don’t have the luxury of choice. How is traceability maintained, especially in the cold chain? These bags often don’t comply with packaging regulations, the source of the chicken is untraceable, and there is no way of knowing how high the bacterial risks are after these processes.


FairPlay received these shocking photos of chicken for sale in Spar, and they tell the story of risk better than any words can. Shame on you, Spar. Shame on your importers too! South African consumers deserve better. It is time we stand up and demand that.


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