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Food Safety Regulatory Body to address outbreaks

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Food-borne outbreaks in South Africa prompts a proposed Food Safety Regulatory Body: are you ready?

What is a food-borne disease/outbreak?

Food-borne diseases are caused by contamination of food by bacteria, viruses or parasite. There are approximately 250 identified food borne germs, the most common ones being:

1. Norovirus

2. Salmonella

3. Clostridium perfringens

4. Campylobacter

5. Staphylococcus aureus

An outbreak occurs when people get the same disease/infection from the same contaminated food/food product. Recent outbreaks in SA include:

1. The Listeriosis outbreak in 2017: Listeriosis is caused by the germ Listeria monocytogenes. It was found in ready-to-eat processed meats, and caused symptoms such fever, chills, diarrhoea, headaches or confusion. Fifty percent of reported cases were associated with pregnant women and people with weak immune systems.

2. The recall of canned pilchards in 2020: Cases of Botulism were reported after dented/damaged tin cans (of pilchards) were associated with specific South African brand names. Botulism is caused when the Clostridium botulinum bacteria contaminates food (mostly in tin cans that are not sealed properly) and causes severe symptoms such as paralyses.

How is Food Safety currently regulated in South Africa?

South Africa’s current Food Safety legislation are dispersed over various Government Departments that hold various jurisdictions, making implementation and accountability complicated. These Departments include:

1. Department of Health

2. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

3. Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

4. Local Municipalities responsible for health services

5. South African Bureau of Standards (SANS codes)

The need for a Food Safety Regulatory Body has been identified by our President and is said to be in the pipeline. Its purpose will be to simply our regulatory regime and have a better handle on food safety compliance and consumer protection.

What does this mean for you?

A single Regulatory Body would be able to easier monitor, track, measure and correct non-compliance throughout the industry . A single Regulatory Body would not, however, do away with the many Food Safety Standards that a company would need to consider. Companies in the industry are aware of the various standards of compliance; e.g. FSSC 22000, ISO 22000, SANS 10330, BRC, etc. A small oversight in this area can cost a huge fine.

With the proposed Food Safety Regulatory Body seeking guidance from the World Health Organization and United Nations, international standards will most certainly come to the forefront in SA. This would mean having to comply to standards such as BRCGS, SQF, or IFS Food 6.1.

Food Safety Management Systems have become the norm on a global scale, and SA would need to adapt accordingly to achieve efficiency and effectiveness. With the downward economic spiral in initiated by the Coronavirus, budget cuts are inevitable. But think about the time, man hours and cost of fines (if non-compliant) you would save with a simple to use, budget friendly Food Safety Management System.

ARISCU provides a solution, born in the year 2000 and adapted to these changing times, that allows South African Companies to take the lead in Food Safety Compliance. Book a free demo today at or contact us for more information.We’ve made it quick and convenient for you to manage your blog from anywhere. In this blog post we’ll share the ways you can post to your Wix Blog.

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