Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (cgcsa) statement on fake foods

Johannesburg, 29 August 2018 – The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has called for coordinated legislative national efforts to deal with fraudulent, counterfeit and expired food products and other manufactured goods being sold in South Africa.

Particularly worrying is the sale of counterfeit foods and beverages to unsuspecting consumers which poses a serious health hazard, says Matlou Setati, the Food Safety Initiative (FSI) Executive at CGCSA.

“Recent reports of fake food products being sold in townships calls for co-ordinated efforts by all role players, from the Government through the Environmental Health Practitioners Inspectorate, law enforcement agencies, SARS and industry organisations such as the CGCSA and the National Consumer Commission to counter this problem. The CGCSA is already playing its role by raising awareness regarding the proliferation of unauthorised sellers and resellers of barcodes which are used for product identification,” Setati says.

She says counterfeited goods and products in South Africa include food, medicines, electrical products, clothing, shoes, cigarettes and beverages. These products find their way into the country or manufactured in counterfeit facilities around the country as was shown in media. Such products are usually cheaper which makes them easier to sell.

Specific to food, food fraud continues to be a huge challenge not only in South Africa, but globally as well. Food fraud includes actions such as changing date markings such as expiry, best before date or sell by once the product has reached its shelf life period to extend the sale, addition of water in milk to increase the volume, addition of sugar to honey, labelling of coffee creamer as milk, sale of expired food products and use of another company’s branding further named as counterfeit food.

“These actions may seem to impact more of the product, but the consumer gets a raw deal in terms of the fraudulent product being of inferior quality, lacking food safety and nutrition and some of these actions lead to public health risks, as with the melamine case,” Setati says.

Explaining date marking on food products, Setati says, as defined under regulation No. R146 of 01 March 2010:

“Date of manufacturing” means the date on which the food becomes the product as described;

“”Best Before” or “Best Before End” means the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage conditions during which the product will remain fully marketable and will retain any specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made, However, beyond the date the food may still be perfectly satisfactory;

“Sell by” or “display until” means the last date of offer for sale to the consumer after which there remains a reasonable storage period at home;

“Sell by retail” means to sell to a person buying other than for the purpose of resale, but does not include selling to a caterer for the purposes of his catering business, or to a manufacturer for the purposes of his manufacturing business;

“Use by” (Best Consumed Before, Recommended Last Consumption Date, Expiry Date) means the date which signifies the end of the estimated period under the stated storage conditions, after which the product probably will not have the quality attributes normally expected by the consumers and after which date the food should not be regarded as marketable.

“Globally, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognised that Food Safety Certification standards have incorporated food fraud in their management systems to answer the global call to prevent food fraud and some South Africa food manufactures are already certified according to these standards.

To a great extent, the public view of fake products is one of ambiguity, it is often seen as a victimless crime, which of course is far from the truth. This lack of appreciation of the threat of fake products actually encourages and supports its continued growth.

The three major threats from fake product as highlighted in the Inumba Numba initiative to decriminalize the spaza and township economy by education with regard to starts with a foundational layer of globally accepted supply chain GS1 standards acting as building blocks to identify objects and then to capture the information about them at key points in the supply chain and then to share the information seamlessly among stakeholders.

  1. Consumer safety is jeopardized through counterfeit food, medicines, medical devices, toys, consumer electronics, alcohol, tobacco, automotive parts etc.
  2. Economic threat impacts business and governments – reducing the market for legitimate business and reducing revenue for governments – vat, duties and
    other taxes while increased cost for enforcement.
  3. National Security is put at risk with counterfeit electronic components in military and defense equipment poses a national security risk



Issued on behalf of CGCSA by:
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For further information and interview requests:

Sure Kamhunga


Mobile: 083 5444 392

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