It seems the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies was on point when he reassured South African consumers that the meat products available in the country were not harmful to human health. This comes after a scandal broke out about exotic meat being mixed into known meat sources intended for public consumption. According to a report by News24, the issue is not necessarily with the type of meat that is contained in the meat products but more to do with the fact that the ingredients are not accurately listed on the labels.
People have been eating goat and buffalo meat in many countries for centuries. The uproar is largely due to the fact that consumers prefer to know exactly what they are eating. There are many cultural and religious factors to consider when one decides on a diet. There are also health and physiological factors to look at. Over and above this, legislation demands that suppliers list all the ingredients they use in their products. Besides all this, when a person feels like beef, that person wants to be sure that it is really beef that ends up on their plate and not donkey meat. Rob Davies agrees that “consumers have a right to know what it is they are consuming”.
To the relief of the public, News24 released the findings of their investigation into this meat labeling scandal and thankfully, all is not doom and gloom. Samples of meat and meat products were collected from various popular retailers and put through vigorous tests. The tests were aimed at determining if the ingredients that are actually in the meat are listed completely and accurately on the label. Pick and Pay, Spar, Woolworths and Shoprite agreed to have their meat products undergo the genetic tests to determine if any unlisted meat sources could be found.
The results of the study reveal that these retailers cannot be faulted as the food labels they use list the exact ingredients that are contained in their meat products. Consumers, especially those people who suffer from allergies, should pay particular attention to food labels. The retail stores who committed to the tests were found to prefer reputable suppliers in order to protect their customers and of course, their reputation. For now, South Africans can worry a little less about the meat they buy as long as they get it from reliable retailers and suppliers.