28 February 2013

South Africa: Urgent Investigation Into Donkey Meat Scandal Is Needed

Photo: enewschannel
Sausages tainted with either donkey, water buffalo and goat meat

press release

The Democratic Alliance welcomes calls by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies for an investigation by the National Consumer Commission on the discovery of traces of donkey, soya, goat and water buffalo in processed meats in South Africa.

While we welcome this action, it is necessary to gain clarity on what procedures were followed and what went wrong in the process of packaging, labelling and distribution.

I will therefore be writing to the chairwoman of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Joanmarie Fubbs, requesting her to urgently call on the National Regulator for Compulsory Specification (NRCS) and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to appear before the committee to explain the testing and inspection procedures and how they failed to detect these elements.

This must include an inquiry into how pork was found in some of the products, but not labelled as such. Indeed, this failure to properly label food products will have a significant impact on religious communities whose members refrain from eating such products. It also has the potential to result in job losses if South African meat exports are halted.

I will also ask that private companies found guilty of misleading the public in this way be requested to appear before the committee to answer questions.

This matter must be placed at the top of the committee's agenda so that South Africans can rest assured that this is never allowed to happen again.

Wilmot James, Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry

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