Advertise with fastmoving.co.za
 
 

The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), which wants legislators to push for stricter regulations for poultry imports.
The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), which wants legislators to push for stricter regulations for poultry imports.

Poultry body backs march over 'unsafe' poultry imports

ECONOMIC NEWS

By Theto Mahlakoana - Feb 5th, 13:34

A single bag of frozen chicken can consist of pieces from as many as five different countries, which is not only confusing for consumers but can have serious health implications. 

This is because SA has no laws ensuring the effective traceability of imported poultry products and its safety, according to the South African Poultry Association, which has thrown its weight behind this week’s planned march to Parliament by the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), which wants legislators to push for stricter regulations for poultry imports.

The union’s members package the chicken that arrives in frozen block form by ship from Brazil, the US and other countries and have raised concern about "relabelled expired frozen chicken" that is then sold in SA.

The association’s CEO, Charlotte Nkuna, said the issue with the labeling of imported chicken was that the origin of the product was not clear as it was imported in bulk and reworked into small packages.

"They mix products from many sources when they repack. That is the reason why you see packs with product from as many as five countries sometimes. It also makes traceability of product difficult and food safety also becomes an issue," she said.

While Fawu says the issue has been a challenge for years, it evidently worsened after SA agreed to the tariff-free importation of 65-million kilograms of American chicken as part of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

Moleko Phakedi, the deputy general secretary of the South African Federations of Trade Unions, to which Fawu is affiliated, told Business Day the issue was one of many challenges brought on by SA’s lack of food sovereignty, saying it demonstrated the country could not rely on imported food.

The government had to support and invest in domestic producers, Phakedi said.

Fawu has said that Agoa led not only led to the threat of job insecurity in the local poultry industry but also resulted in vulnerable South Africans consuming product whose origins and safety they are unsure of.

"Major retailers usually do not compromise on quality," Phakedi said. "It is consumers in the lower end of the economy who end up buying these products," he said.

The march to Parliament was aimed at putting pressure on legislators and raising awareness among consumers, Phakedi said.

The government’s reluctance to deal with these matters was concerning in the face of occasional disease outbreaks such as avian flu, which almost wiped out SA’s poultry industry recently, he said.
© BusinessLIVE MMXVIII 

Read more about: sa economy | produce | poultry | agribusiness

Related News

Surprise dip in inflation offers relief to consumers
22/06/2018 - 08:49
Inflation is hitting the rich hardest, Stats SA's figures show.

Higher taxes take a toll as retail index slumps to a three-month low
21/06/2018 - 08:53
The JSE’s general retail index, which includes the likes of Woolworths and Mr Price, has posted its worst rolling three-month period since the end of 2013, as depressed consumer confidence and a brewing US-China trade war ruin projections of a significant uptick in consumer spending.

Township retail and shopping centre market growing at a rapid pace
20/06/2018 - 10:40
Despite a challenging economy and disruptions, townships have become hubs for big development in retail and brands.

Construction index reflects big downturn in building materials sales
20/06/2018 - 09:36
The Afrimat Construction Index for the first quarter of 2018 shows a large downturn year on year as SA’s mining and construction industries remain mired in negative territory.

Fitch retains its junk rating for SA
19/06/2018 - 10:25
The agency warns financial challenges at state-owned enterprises remain substantial and government debt has yet to stabilise.