Sale of fake foods
Public concern regarding the selling of “fake foods” compelled the National Department of Health to issue an urgent directive to investigate allegations made regarding the sale of food products, especially products not labelled in accordance with the REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE LABELLING AND ADVERTISING OF FOODSTUFFS, R146 OF 01 MARCH 2010.
According to Regulation 146:
- No person shall manufacture, import, sell or offer any pre-packed foodstuffs for sale, unless the foodstuff container or the bulk stock, from which it is taken, is labelled in accordance with these regulations.
- No person shall import, manufacture, sell, distribute or donate foodstuffs, unless a date marking is clearly indicated on the label or container of such foodstuff.
- The date shall be preceded by appropriate words “best before” and/or “use by” and/or “sell by”, depending on the nature of the product; Provided that bbreviations shall not be permitted, except “BB” for “best before”, but the preceding words shall be written out in full.
- The date marking may not be removed or altered by any person.
During September 2018, the Garden Route District Municipality’s Municipal Health Section, in conjunction with the South African Police Services (SAPS) conducted successful operations at “Spaza Shops” in the Hessequa Region.
The purpose of these operations was to address the sale of food products which have reached their “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before” dates, as well as products that were not labelled in English and/or one of the other official languages of the Republic of South Africa.
Inspections were conducted at eighty-one (81) “Spaza Shops” in Riversdale, Heidelberg and Albertinia collectively. During the operations, aspects regarding labelling and advertising of foodstuffs were explained to shop owners/managers, and products which were not labelled in accordance with this Regulation, especially those with no labels, inappropriate language presentation and no “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before” dates, were confiscated and condemned.
When products that have reached their “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before dates were found, shop owners/managers ere given the option to either return the products to the manufacturer or voluntarily surrender it for condemnation.
It is important to understand that date marking, is a best practice in the food industry, helping to protect both food quality and food safety. When the “sell by” and/or “use by” and/or “best before” dates of a food product has been reached, the risk of microbiological deterioration increases, which result in an increased health risk to the public.
In light of these events, the Municipal Health Section of the Garden Route District Municipality has decided to increase its monitoring programmes at all food premises, and to create greater public awareness.