Industry hails planned food control agency

2011-03-08 00:00

ECOWIZE, a leading hygiene and sanitation company serving the food sector, has welcomed the decision by the government to fast-track plans to establish a food control agency.

Business Day recently reported that the government plans to speed up the establishment of a food control agency to tackle cheap food imports that might threaten consumer safety, and to protect local agricultural processing companies.

Stephen Hanival, chief director of agro-processing in the Department of Trade and Industry, reportedly said the agency will prevent unsafe food products from entering South Africa and enable local processing industries to gain access to international markets from which they had been excluded due to a lack of verification and certification processes.

The agricultural sector believes that high levels of imports of food products by retailers that target low-income consumers are a problem.

Ecowise says the food control agency will safeguard the agricultural sector from unfair competition.

Gareth Lloyd-Jones, MD of Ecowize, said, “While South Africa has stringent controls over the products that are produced or exported from the country, we cannot be certain that the other countries apply those controls on the food that they export to the country, so this agency will see to it that the food entering the country is of high standard.

“The agency will make international companies more compliant with South Africa’s quality standards,” he added.

It will also help in eliminating unfair competition.

“In many parts of the world, products are heavily subsidised by their governments, which means that they could supply their products at a cheaper rate,” said Lloyd-Jones.

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