Continued Investigation into meat products

Meat Products - Consumer Protection

Meat Products – Consumer Protection

Pretoria – The investigation into meat labelling following news of undeclared products in meat is continuing – with an outcome expected in two to three months’ time, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said on Monday.

“The National Consumer Commission (NCC) is busy with the investigation. We think in two to three months’ time the results thereof will be out,” dti spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said.

In February, dti Minister Rob Davies asked the NCC to investigate the matter of meat labelling after it emerged that undeclared products were found in meat.

Research conducted by a study group at the University of Stellenbosch with regard to the content of various meat products in South Africa found the presence of donkey, water buffalo, goat and other undisclosed meat products in certain processed foods available to consumers at retail stores.

Failure to disclose the ingredients contained in food products constitutes the breaching of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

“Companies that breach the CPA can be fined,” added Medupe.

“In terms of Section 24 of the CPA, consumers have a right to disclosure of information: this disclosure includes product labelling and trade descriptions. It is imperative that whatever is put out for human consumption must comply with the labelling and disclosure requirements as contained in the CPA. The Commission has a responsibility to monitor compliance with the relevant labelling requirements,” Davies said earlier.

The fine could be up to R10 million or a 10 year prison sentence.

On Sunday, a weekend newspaper had identified several big name stores as having stocking incorrectly labelled meat products.

The commission has a responsibility to monitor compliance with the relevant labelling requirements.

The NCC – which is an agency of the dti – is charged with the responsibility to enforce functions assigned to it in terms of the CPA which aims to establish national norms and standards relating to consumer protection as well as provide for improved standards of consumer information among others.

In terms of the CPA, each and every person or supplier within the value chain has a responsibility to ensure that when a trade description is applied to goods, they must not knowingly apply a trade description that is likely to mislead the consumer. –