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Know what's in your food

By Tebogo Monama - monamat@sowetan.co.za | Mar 28, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 12 ]

CONSUMERS are set to gain ample insight on what goes into their meals through the newly introduced Food Labelling Act.

It seeks to ensure that consumers know what they put in their mouths. Any food packaging designed after March 1 will reflect the new Department of Health regulations.

The law, first announced in 2010 and commonly referred to as R146, regulates the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs in an effort to curb unsubstantiated claims.

The Act stipulates that a description of the ingredients contained in the food must be printed clearly next to the product name, and it must not be misleading; nutritional claims like "high in fibre", "sugar free" and "low fat" must be accompanied by a nutritional table to substantiate the claims and there should be a quantitative ingredient declaration that breaks down the amount of ingredients that are advertised on the product label.

Allergens must also be declared.

Guy Kebble from SurePure said: "Currently, the food labels do not reflect the things that are in the food and how food is prepared. If a supermarket sells you fruit juice they will call it 'fresh'. How fresh is it if it was boiled to prolong its shelf life.

"Consumers need to know what happens between the tree and the supermarket counter.

"We are unaware of the preservatives that are in our food. How can fruit juice be fresh if it is cooked?"

He said during the production process preservatives are introduced to food.

Kebble said that the law will benefit people with allergies.

"The people will see exactly what is in their food and what would make them sick."

He said it would take a while to roll out the regulations but: "People need to be scared so they can evaluate what they eat. If consumers are scared by what is in their food, they will demand that the producers make healthier food for them. We still have a long way to go because the Act has no implications on the wine industry, for instance.

"They are only supposed to write in small print that their wine contains sulphur and not how much."

Other than the nutritional value of products disclosure of the country of origin on imported foodstuffs is now compulsory.

COMMENTS [ 12 ]

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It is a good concept but I'm afraid that the current legislation will lead to information overload with no way for the customer to understand or interpret half of the information given.

Mr Kebble also neglects to mention that preservatives may possibly maybe theoretically at some stage ki11 you but botulism will DEFINITELY ki11 you immediately. Another thing he forgot to mention is that. whilst boiling fruit juice does destroy the vitamin C, ascorbic acid is normally added to the juice (ascorbic acid is vitamin C so that is another minefield for the consumer to negotiate).

It is a fine line between practicality and what is desirable

Mar 28, 2012 7:15 | 0 replies

that is why we getting fat we eat junk food

Mar 28, 2012 2:59 | 0 replies

We are going to be made to pay for the printed information, this is Africa.

Mar 28, 2012 1:55 | 0 replies

Mbeva

If that is your sum total of food knowledge then never ever check on the bacterial count of pepper.

Mar 28, 2012 12:39 | 0 replies

Yes I know that Supreme Poultry thaws, washes, injects, rebrands, then resells the chickens with new expiry dates to outlets such as Pick n Pay and Shoprite Checkers.

Mar 28, 2012 11:55 | 0 replies

Thats a good initiative but consumers should also learn the terminology used in food like what is omega 3, sodium, sulphur and so on

Mar 28, 2012 10:4 | 0 replies

tmol1

Strangely enough, there was a study done on obese teens in the USA a few years back and it was found that they were actually malnourished. They had a lot of macro-nutrients but were deficient in micro-nutrients. It is all down to having a varied diet and EVERYTHING in moderation.

Mar 28, 2012 9:33 | 0 replies

These daysI am sure nothing is as natural anymore. Have you seen grapes these days, they are a side of a globe (an exeggeration from my side, I know) and you think that is natural...I doubt. You can eat and just only hope what you're eating won't make you sick.

Mar 28, 2012 9:13 | 0 replies

@tmol1
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It's because you are sitting in the office the whole day not exercising :) Tsa mo shapa peke ko strateng. have you ever seen a guy o shapang peke wa sdudla? :)

Mar 28, 2012 8:56 | 0 replies

eish, the food story, no wonder y we are so fat and gaining weight so quick

Mar 28, 2012 8:53 | 0 replies

In fact, while it is wise to know what is in our food, I wonder if the Act would materialize. These people are busy fattening us with their chemicals. We are going to end up not eating anything. I am tired of people telling me what to eat. I just eat :). Everyone is telling me that this is not good that is not good. I just stay away from too much fat and I eat in moderation. In a few years time we are going to have many vegetarians. FACT

Coke is not good, it can dissolve a tooth in 2 weeks. KFC is not chicken, it is some genetically modified substance, that is why it is no longer called Kentucky Fried Chicken. Chiken Licken's hot wings are not good for women because the chickens are injected in their wings so they will form a clot in the woman's womb. Blah blah blah! I just eat :)

Mar 28, 2012 8:51 | 0 replies