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Contaminated meat suppliers face jail

Apr 15 2013 07:45 Sapa
Jail

Picture: AP

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Johannesburg - Suppliers involved in the country's meat labelling scandal could face fines or time in jail, it was reported on Monday.

"In terms of the Consumer Protection Act, there are severe repercussions for these suppliers," trade and industry spokesperson Sidwell Medupe told The Citizen newspaper.

Under the act, it was an offence for anyone to alter, obscure, falsify, remove or omit a displayed price, labelling or trade description without authority.

Punishment included fines of up to R10m or 10 years in prison.

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

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

The Citizen reported that a Consumer Commission report into the meat labelling scandal would be made public within three months.

Consumer Goods Council of SA food safety head Ronel Burger said the council was convinced that the contamination was limited to DNA traces.

"Our members have nothing to hide," she said.

Safety for consumers

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

"We call for harsher punitive measures against all those involved in this scandal, be it the butchery or the retailer," chairperson 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."

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.



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