Food labelling regulations take effect

2012-03-02 10:33

Johannesburg - All food manufactured, imported and sold in South Africa must be labelled with detailed nutritional and compositional information, according to new health regulations published in the Star newspaper on Friday.

Health department spokesperson Fidel Hadebe said this was to ensure consumers received adequate information before purchase so that the public was not misled by manufacturers.

The new regulations came into effect on Thursday.

The provisions are:
- a description of the ingredients contained in the food printed clearly next to the name of the product;
- the food's country of origin;
- statements such as "high fibre", "sugar free" and "low fat" must be substantiated by a nutritional table;
- a percentage breakdown of ingredients advertised on the label;
- a best before, sell by, and use by date;
- food allergens contained in the product, such as peanuts and dairy products, must be declared.

  • Shirley - 2012-03-02 10:35

    About time! Good news!

      Godfrey - 2012-03-02 11:52


  • Nosiphom - 2012-03-02 10:59

    Changes very littel for goods coming from the EU anyway!

  • Willem - 2012-03-02 11:20

    This is all ok for the world standards, but what about the vendours next to the road ? The only people that will get tarketed is companies that have the money. - 2012-03-05 11:29

      Most of the stuff on the side of the road is fresh stuff and that does not need labelling. A carrot is a carrot etc. BTW - For others, the new laws are even tougher than the EU. Probably the toughest in the world

  • Tyron Deakin - 2012-03-02 11:22

    the world is going this way, South Africa is going that way

      Althea - 2012-03-02 13:50

      Hahahah...that is a quote from Trevor Noah, Yeah Neh!

  • Byron - 2012-03-02 11:27

    Thanks for the heads up, I'll start saving now for the price increases

      Peter - 2012-03-02 11:41

      Locally produced products will undoubtaly has a price increase applied due to the Printing costs, new artwork, new stamps , different colours. Also, Specsavers will have a sudden influx of patients as the writing will become smaller ( read the fine print ) as it will have to be small to have ALL the info put on it (Halaal, kosher, english, Zulu, africaans etc ). - Then for the exported product - French, Portugese, Arabis etc

  • Sharon - 2012-03-02 11:28

    What in concering is that it is not required to state whether the ingredients have been genetically modified. South Africa is one of the few countries in the world where it is not required to declare this on the labels.

      Morné - 2012-03-02 11:44

      Sharon, it is written into the Consumer Protection Act that all gm products must be labeled as such. At this stage there is zero compliance. Speaking under correction, more than 50% of all maize produced in South Africa is genetically modified. With no separation at the silos, it is near impossible to get a bag of maize meal that's gm free. None of our maize products are however labeled as containing gm grains. The only way action will be taken on this is if someone complains.

      Leroy - 2012-03-02 11:47

      what about wheat? that the biggest one here!

      Morné - 2012-03-02 11:48

      The article you referenced predates the release of the Consumer Protection Act. The information I have includes the gm clause in the Act; since then there has been some news of producers objecting to implementing this part of the Act (sorry, I can't recall the exact article).

      Godfrey - 2012-03-02 11:53

      What common foods have not been genetically modified by humans since the dawn of time? Banana anyone?

      Gail - 2012-03-02 13:30

      I was quoted 70 =80% of ALL Maize is GM in South Africa. I find this horryfying. I still have not got stats on Wheat.

      Morné - 2012-03-02 13:35

      Godfrey, there is a difference between artificial selection for desired traits and cross breading of related species and gene splicing to introduce genetic material from unrelated species. The risk of the first is well understood and documented, whilst the risk of the later poorly understood and the information related to that carefully controlled and doled out piecemeal by the protagonists of this technology. As with all technologies in a free world, we should be allowed to choose which we would like to be subjected to.

      Godfrey - 2012-03-02 16:09

      @Morne I have no problem with that. Merely pointing out the misuse of terminology here. Now you have corrected it. Good.

  • tawanda.gatsi - 2012-03-02 11:39

    its about time, no more lies

  • Sam - 2012-03-02 11:50

    'according to new health regulations published in the Star newspaper on Friday.'?? The Star has taken over from the Govt Gazette? Bit of a bugger for food manufacturers who don't operate in Gauteng, I'd say.

  • Michael - 2012-03-02 11:53

    The GM foods are a huge issue and danger - seems to be ignored for some reason . This is more of a threat to the human race than how much sugar we are consuming.

      Brett - 2012-03-02 12:02

      What are the dangers?

      Michael - 2012-03-02 12:49

      GM food has resulted in the decimation of the bee population in Europe , a rather large inconvenience to mankind as this will effect the pollination process. Seeds have been genetically altered to prevent rodent and disease attacks on crops but this has resulted in the unintended consequences of new super rodents and new veracious strains of plant diseases. The effect of GM food on humans is slowly becoming a horror movie - we all know we are what we eat - this may not end well - for us ! Companies have taken out patents on their GM seeds - some of them only can be used once by the farmer but wind and weather carries the seeds all over the world where they take over from the the local natural seeds . Some of these companies are claiming ownership of these far flung crops as they own the patent - what a weird story but some farmers have lost their lands because of the huge legal clout these companies wield The internet is full of research on this topic - not too pretty !!

      Gail - 2012-03-02 13:28

      But........ they STILL HAVE NO GM labeling!

      Michael - 2012-03-02 13:38

      Precisely !!! This represents HUGE capital - Even Obama has been manipulated by these corporations. This is the next war against the ordinary man - food and water security is the new frontier for mankind !

  • kasamkelo - 2012-03-02 11:57

    whatever, people will still just buy cos they wont understand all ingredients. Again its not helping to bring the price down.

  • David.J.Swart - 2012-03-02 12:17

    Hopefully the consumers won't mind aborbing the extra costs that will eventually filter through to them! And then we complain about high prices, but all the regulations serve to up the prices even more.

  • Theo - 2012-03-02 13:05

    So, we will still not know if it is GMO foods we are eating! That part is about the most important of them all! Most foods I eat already contain the suggested labelling of this article. I think this is just a cover-up to conceal GMO foods! I am very disapointed!

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-03 11:23

      Agreed. It's no good to me personally if I don't know whether it's GMO or not. Even meats where the source used Bovine hormone growth antibiotics etc - I'd like to know so I can avoid.

  • Gail - 2012-03-02 13:26

    South Africans are not only ill- informed, but are totally behind the rest of the world in eliminating GM from all edible products. India is taking Monsanto to court for bio piracy, the Fench are suing them for poisoning, Hungary has literally burnt them out of their country. GM creates organ failure, is not nutricious and is in fact poisonous. What is more, GM is bio piracy where all natural seeds are replaced by GM seeds which can only be obtained from certain companies. In other words, GM is the total corporatisation of food products where seeds will no longer be freely available to all, but must and can only be bought from these GM companies. Our food products have undergone a corporate take over! THis means that as GM takes over, a farmer will no longer be able to produce his own seeds, but WILL HAVE TO BUY THEM FROM MONSANTO! In spite of the fact that 70-80% of our Mielies, which are not only a staple food in this country, but are part of our culture, NOBODY in this country objects, nobody DEMANDS that all foodstuffs containing GM Maize are clearly labelled so that the consumer KNOWS and has a CHOICE as to wether they WANT TO EAT GARBAGE or not! AND our farmers are being Hi Jacked by GM corporations! WAKE UP!

      arthurbrigg - 2012-03-03 11:25

      Absolutely. Look at India and the cotton industry - at least they've woken up now and banned Monsanto. The corporate pigs are selling it to Africa as if they're "saviors" and Africa is eating it up (excuse the pun). SA needs to catch a fast wake up.

  • Gail - 2012-03-02 13:26

    Why are all companies not required by law, to CLEARLY lable whether their product contains any GENETICALLY MODIFIED ingredients. 70 - 80 % off all Maize in this country is now GM. Which means that 70-80% of all cereals and porridge is Genetically modified, so Soya is GM, and many products contain soya. Kellogs is known to be GM product. Peanut butter for example is GM, Yum Yum for one, as are certain Mayonaise products. Nestle is GM. Many Bokomo products are GM. In fact the South African consumer would be horrified if they knew exactly how many products on the shelves are GM.

  • arthurbrigg - 2012-03-03 11:18

    What about whether it is made from genetically modified organisms?

  • Lacrimose - 2012-03-04 21:57

    Will it be law that the labels are legible without a magnifying glass/1000 watt light bulb? Yellow ink on a white background or 0.0005 point is hard enough for the normally sighted. Labels are of no use unless you can read them - in the supermarket. They also often need a translation guide.

  • John - 2012-03-04 22:39

    So it's cool to get pissed any day except Sunday. This Sunday closure of bottle stores is just retarded. Why would this make such a difference to society?

  • Gerhard - 2012-03-05 08:47

    What about telling up where the food are produced/grown. I mean be more specific other than just telling us the country of origin. When it comes to fish, cattle, chicken and pork the quality of the meat depends on the food they are being fed. Location just tells me if its sustainable or not. The worlds biggest slaughter house kills about 33000 pigs a day. Even if all their products contain those info,I still won't eat what at comes out of there. Watch Food inc.

  • Katoolsie - 2012-03-05 10:55

    Who really reads these labels anyway?

  • Laura Van Der Westhuizen - 2014-07-22 09:39

    What happens when the Manufacturer/supplier only has the product name, flavour, package size and sell by date on the packet in the form of a small stamp on the back of the packet.

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