Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Cape Town - South African supermarket chains have assured consumers that the horsemeat saga which hit their counterparts in the UK has not affected the local market.
It emerged on Tuesday that Irish food inspectors had found almost 30 percent horsemeat in beef burgers sold by Tesco.
UK media reported that smaller amounts were also found in beef burgers sold by Iceland, Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes.
UK officials said the contaminated products posed no risk to human health, and had been removed from shops.
A total 27 burger products were analysed, with 10 showing traces of horse DNA, and 23 of pig DNA.
Also analysed were 31 beef meal products, including cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne. A total of 21 tested positive for pig DNA.
Yesterday the Shoprite Group here, which stocks products supplied by Iceland, assured customers that it did not stock any of the products affected in the UK.
“The range of convenience foods supplied by Iceland to the group does not include burgers or any other beef product. South African authorities do not permit the import of products containing processed beef from the UK,” Sarita van Wyk, corporate communication manager for Shoprite Holdings, said.
Other frozen burgers on their shelves were supplied by local producers who conformed to South Africa’s strict labelling regulations.
“They also take responsibility for the safety and standards of their products. Fresh beef burgers sold by the supermarket group’s butcheries are supplied by local suppliers whose products are subjected to DNA analysis on a regular basis, to ensure they contain what is stated on the labels,” she added.
According to Van Wyk, it is legal to sell equine meat, which does not pose a health risk, in South Africa. The law does however prescribe that products should be labelled as such.
But she said: “Regardless of the fact that it is not prohibited by law, the Shoprite Group does not include equine products in its range of meat products.”
Pick n Pay spokeswoman Tamra Veley said they did not stock the affected products.
“We do not import any frozen processed meat. In fact, more than 95 percent of all groceries on our shelves are South African. Specialised products that we do import, such as they are, are subject to very strict supplier quality protocols, and health and safety standards.”
Woolworths said in response to queries: “We have not been affected by this incident.”