Harare - Low fat dairy products in South Africa - including yoghurt, milk and cheese - will now be classified as medium fat products, in line with new regulations set to take effect in the next few weeks.
Industry officials say South Africa's dairy products are to be reclassified in line with international standards. These have now been changed to effectively reclassify the fat content in these products.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has announced a new regulation which aims to align local dairy products with international standards and codes of practice.
These are seen as contributing to the "safety, quality and fairness of the international food trade".
Local dairy companies such as Parmalat have confirmed that their former range of low fat yoghurts will, in line with the new legislation, in future be labelled as medium fat products.
Jompie Burger, managing director of the Dairy Standards Agency, said on Thursday that the new law is "aimed at ensuring fair competition" within the industry and helping it conform to international health guidelines.
Under the new regulations, dairy products in SA will now be categorised according to five different class designations: high fat, full fat, medium fat, low fat and fat free (skimmed).
“Parmalat has been working on introducing the yoghurt packaging changes for the past year to ensure we meet the DAFF’s (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries') March 2016 deadline and that we are in compliance," said Parmalat.
The new legislative measures for the SA dairy industry will also comprise stricter labelling requirements for dairy and imitation dairy products.
This means that the inclusion of an ingredient list, best by/use by/sell by dates, and batch code indicators has now become compulsory information that must be displayed on containers of dairy or imitation dairy products.