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South Africa
Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 02:16
Taste of truth

The South African food industry is taking matters into its own hands. Food manufacturers and retailers are now working together to become self-regulated in terms of food safety and compliance so that not only domestic consumers but also entire industries, such as tourism and the international investment sector, may be confident about the food that is produced and consumed in South Africa.

FoodSure also sees the importance of how, if SA food industry takes the ‘continental’ lead in becoming compliant, this will have a positive knock-on effect for Brand South Africa.
For self-regulation to take place, the food industry needs to check every stage of its supply chain, and be rigorous about its certification, auditing, label verification and overall operational standards.
Amanda Rogaly, MD of FoodSure says some of the big food companies in South Africa are already well on their way to total compliance and label verification but that it is a lengthy process. “The real challenge is making it clear to other and smaller, independent companies what they need to do.” As an independent organisation with specialist consultants in a number of critical fields, FoodSure works with the retailers and food manufacturers to help them become fully compliant. It also identifies and helps the industry close operational gaps where errors might creep in and where potential food scares could be lurking. “At least we are working with these companies and that there is the goodwill to do the right thing.”
Many tourists across the world are concerned about food safety issues and avoid local foods. If South Africa takes a proactive lead in meeting international food safety standards, tourists can happily explore our local cuisine knowing it is safe. An international food scare rooted in South Africa would have serious consequences for the country’s reputation as a business and leisure tourism destination.
“The same goes for investors,” says Rogaly. “If the food source and manufacturing process cannot meet international standards, the attractiveness of setting up a manufacturing plant to service the SADC region or the continent in general would be hampered. International organisations cannot afford the liability and reputational risk associated with food scares that often occur in third world countries. An example of this was the experience that Tiger Brands had with one of its manufacturers in India late last year.
The food industry is the second largest employer in South Africa employing around 1.5 million people. The industry turns over more than R20 billion per annum. FoodSure says the food compliance legislation was passed in South Africa in 2011. Yet four years later it is estimated that only 80% are doing what they should be doing. Of course, it’s a massive undertaking to adjust food-processing techniques and ingredients. FoodSure says it is trying to bring all the necessary disciplines together to work with supermarkets and manufacturers to ensure that false claims on labels cannot be made and that operational gaps in the food process are closed.
 

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:28.5 1st May, 2015
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