Retailers blame cross contamination in food messup

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa welcomes the release of the University of Stellenbosch report on meat labelling

In February this year the University of Stellenbosch’s research report featured prominently in the media after disclosing that a number of samples of meat from unnamed retailers across the country contained DNA from other “non-declared” animal species. Leading retail groups which are members of the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) are confident that the results published by the Stellenbosch University are due to cross-contamination.

“The CGCSA has consistently maintained that its members are committed to compliance with ethical and legal meat practices, and follow appropriate and best practices in food safety, quality procedures and protocol,” says Gwarega Mangozhe, CGCSA’s CEO.

Ronél Burger, Head of the Food Safety Initiative at CGCSA, says “it is not uncommon for other species of animal DNA to be found in minute quantities in meat products, as DNA can be carried over by contact from one species to another. It is likely that cross-contamination could have occurred, resulting in some of the samples tested being found positive for traces of other meat species other than which was declared. The EU and UK currently allow a 1 % DNA threshold which is considered an acceptable production tolerance to accommodate potential cross contamination. There is no threshold that has been set in South Africa, however all species should be declared on packaging when they are added to the product as part of the product’s recipe and in compliance with labelling laws”.

The CGCSA believes that the report has played a very important role in prompting reputable meat wholesalers and retailers to subject their supply chain and meat preparation practices to even greater scrutiny and quality control, so as to ensure that their meat products are fit for human consumption in line with the Consumer Protection Act. The GCGSA also trusts that independent butcheries will ensure compliance to product labelling regulations and the Consumer Protection Act.

CGCSA’s retailer and wholesaler members have strict food supply practices and protocol systems in place.  The suppliers are audited by independent third-party agencies to verify compliance with product specification, processes and food legal requirements on an on-going as well as ad hoc basis.

“The Consumer Goods Council will continue to work with its members as well as the relevant government agencies to uphold the highest standard of ethics, for the ultimate benefit of the consumer,” says Gwarega Mangozhe.

As evidence of this commitment to help grow, protect and nurture the consumer goods industry for the ultimate benefit of the consumer, the CGCSA and its retail members voluntarily approached the National Consumer Commissioner’s (NCC) office to participate fully in the current NCC investigation regarding different meat species found in products.

Last month (March 2013) the CGCSA launched the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud in a show of support for the rights of the consumer, and in an effort to promote and protect their basic rights. The Ombud will deal with consumer complaints against suppliers within the consumer goods and services industry, including the retail, manufacturing and wholesale sectors.

This is an unedited press release issued by the CGCSA on Friday 1th of April 2013

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *