Most SA meat suppliers 'ethical'

27 February 2013 - 21:01 By Sapa

The Consumer Goods Council SA on Wednesday expressed confidence that its major retail and independent suppliers were committed to ethical and legal meat practices.

It was responding to a report by the Stellenbosch University stating that goat, water buffalo and donkey meat had been found in products like sausages, dried meats, burger patties, and mince.

The council said the analysis method used by Stellenbosch scientists tested only for the presence or absence of a particular aspect.

"This means that very little amounts of an aspect is required to be present in order to show a positive result," the council said in a statement.

It however said the report was a timely wake-up call with regard to compliance with food labelling standards.

"We would caution against tarnishing the reputations of several thousand meat suppliers on the basis of the report, which from our understanding, was not the intention of the study or its findings," the council said.

The Red Meat Industry Forum which represents the national red meat chain, also voiced concern.

"[We] believe it is incumbent on Prof Louw Hoffman and his colleagues if they possess incontrovertible factual evidence, to report the transgressors to the relevant authorities for investigation," chairman Dave Ford said.

Hoffman formed part of the Stellenbosch University team that conducted the investigation and compiled the report.

The forum said it conducted tests on its own meat products.

"[We] use an independent auditing company to do meat inspections nationally at red meat abattoirs, to ensure that [our] meat is safe for the consumer," said Ford.

"Once the meat products leave the abattoir they are under the jurisdiction of the department of health... [which] has sufficient legislation at their disposal to enforce compliance at point of sale".