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US chicken safe, says deputy minister

Economy

Parliament – There is no need to boycott US chicken over health concerns as it was safe to eat, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina said on Thursday.

Responding to questions in the National Assembly on whether an earlier call for a boycott of US poultry over fears that it contains higher levels of salmonella, Masina said all consignments of chicken imports would be inspected on site.

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Chicken on display for sale in a local supermarket. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

“I just want to state that with regard to poultry, as of the 6th of January, we signed a sideletter on salmonella to clarify the standards and procredures of South Africa,” he said.

“A I stand here, speaking to the nation, I want to say that from the consignment we have received as a country, there are no such dangers.”

Masina said fears that South Africa’s duty free access to US markets, under the US African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa), was in jeopardy as a result of calls for a boycott were unfounded.

“I don’t think there is any threat to the agreement as it currently stands,” he said.

South Africa received its first shipment of US chicken earlier this month which paved the way for its continued participation in Agoa – which gives producers of various South African products duty free access to the US market.

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