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What’s on the label?

A welcome update to South Africa’s food labelling regulations is in the offing. It’s making slow progress, but a Cabinet statement last week said the Agricultural Product Standards Amendment bill has been approved for tabling in Parliament.

The Cabinet says the amendments seek to protect consumers by strengthening the regulatory framework for production, health and food safety of some agricultural products.

“The Bill tightens the control systems in areas of labelling claims in products for sale, and introduces different inspections and auditing methods,” it says.

The focus on labelling comes not a moment too soon, even if there’s a long parliamentary process ahead. For years imported chicken could be labelled “Product of Netherlands and/or Germany and/or Argentina and/or Brazil and/or United Kingdom and/or France and/or Spain and/or Canada and/or United States.” That’s nine countries on three continents. After protests, including by FairPlay, government has acted and the dispensation ends in September.

Consumers are entitled to know where food comes from, and authorities must be able to track it back to source in the event of contamination. That’s the rule for local chicken, and it must apply to imported poultry as well.

Image: © FairPlay, 2019

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