Committee calls for action against dishonest meat labelling

By Drum Digital
15 April 2013

Action should be taken against those found to be involved in the country's meat labelling scandal, Parliament's portfolio committee on agriculture said on Sunday.

"We call for harsher punitive measures against all those involved in this scandal, be it the butchery or the retailer," chairman Lulu Johnson said in a statement.

"Much as we call for food security in the country, we equally call for

food safety for our consumers."

The City Press newspaper reported that popular supermarkets including PicknPay, Shoprite, Fruit and Veg City, Woolworths and Spar have been identified as stocking incorrectly labelled meat products.

A University of Stellenbosch study found that nearly 60 percent of 139 products tested contained ingredients which were not listed on their labels, including donkey, water buffalo, goat and pork.

The newspaper reported that the retailers had largely suggested that the findings could be blamed on cross-contamination, where one type of meat was transferred to another on chopping boards, saws, hands and utensils.

Johnson also called for the return of health inspectors.

He said the committee would also look at several laws such as the Meat Safety Act and the Consumer Protection Act to find out if they are being "enforced accordingly" to ensure sustainable safe and healthy goods.

-by Sapa

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