S. African meat processors concerned over plant-based product labelling

Improper labelling leads to consumer confusion, the group said
calendar icon 4 July 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

In a statement issued to the press, the South African Meat Processors Association (SAMPA) said it supports the concerns raised by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in respect of correct labelling of meat analogues, which are plant-based foods made to approximate the characteristics of meat.

DALRRD released a directive on 22 June stating that the "illicit use of the product names in respect of names exclusively prescribed for processed meat products." The directive requires that incorrectly labelled meat products be withdrawn until they are correctly labelled. DALRRD then agreed to delay by 30 days any seizures of products that are unlawful, pending an extensive market survey.

In its statement, SAMPA said it is also concerned that the misleading and incorrect labelling of meat analogues will undermine the law and cause unnecessary confusion for consumers.

“While SAMPA is aware of, and welcomes the growth in the vegan/vegetarian/flexitarian (VVF) market, it is important that we all understand that the law is made to protect consumers, and so it is incumbent on all food producers, both meat and plant-based, to acquaint themselves and comply fully with all legal requirements," said Peter Gordon, SAMPA CEO. "This is in the best interest of consumers, who deserve honest labelling and to know exactly what is contained in the products that they buy, at first glance."

South Africa's Agricultural Products Standards Act No 119 of 1990 states: "No person shall use any name, word, expression, reference, particulars or indication in any manner, either by itself or in conjunction with any other verbal, written, printed, illustrated or visual material, in connection with the sale of a product in a manner that conveys or creates or is likely to convey or create a false or misleading impression as to the nature, substance, quality or other properties, or the class or grade, origin, identity or manner or place of production, of that product."

The processed meat industry has to comply with a myriad of regulations and regulatory inspections in order to be able to sell products in South Africa. Processed meat producers are regularly inspected by both the Food Safety Agency and the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards (NRCS), a division of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

“While we recognise that compliance adds material costs to producers, we also recognise the importance of these requirements in protecting the health and wellbeing of consumers, and their critical role in ensuring that products are marketed and sold transparently and honestly," Gordon concluded.co

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.