The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has described the reinstatement of country’s red meat export by the World Organisation for Animal Health as a resounding success by the South African government to protect the economy and the red meat industry.
The ban had been in place since 2011. It came about as a result of the reports of foot-and-mouth disease. The Committee has urged the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the red meat industry and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate in order to sustain a free-disease country. This will help regain the lost income and jobs due to the ban. The Committee Chairperson, Mr Lulu Johnson, said this was a good story of the government that worked for the red meat industry in earning foreign revenue and sustaining jobs in the country.
Meanwhile, Committee members have welcomed the progress made with regards to strengthening of food control services and labelling in South Africa after the meat mislabelling practices that rocked the country last year. Yesterday, the Departments of Agriculture; Trade and Industry, Health, and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications updated the Committee on the investigation into the matter (meat mislabelling).
Among the proposed measures to control and manage the food labelling, is the creation of a Ministerial Cluster on Food Security and Safety, the Inter-Departmental Food Safety Coordinating Committee as the precursors to the establishment of a Food Safety Agency.
“Much as the Committee applauds the government for their efforts and positive progress made in these collaborations, we equally urge them to expand the veterinary services. We believe that the regular unannounced blitzes through the environmental health inspectors to retailers and butcheries can play a pivotal role in ensuring the food safety,” Mr Lulu Johnson.