DURBAN - THE recent spate of food recalls has highlighted the need for comprehensive management systems to be put in place to ensure food safety in South Africa.
This is according to divisional head of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), Dr Sadhvir Bissoon.
“The recent issues experienced with listeriosis, leaking cans, expired nuts and fruit are examples that demonstrate the need for food manufacturers, producers, retailers and every organisation involved in the handling of the supply chain to be trained and certified in Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000).
“When one considers the millions of food products, their distribution, their manufacturing, their handling and the growing processes, it is understandable that a comprehensive food safety management system should be required to assure the end users of its safety and quality. Currently, the global standard for food safety is the Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000).”
Earlier this week, Pioneer Foods said it was recalling some of its peanuts in southern African countries including South Africa after they was exposed to salmonella bacteria, which is a cause of illness to over 17 million people worldwide.
Pioneer Foods CEO, Tertius Carstens, said at the time of the recall the company had retrieved 92% of the affected product.
“This limited number of affected products should never have been released into trade, and while we have not received any health-related complaints from consumers to date, we have decided to proceed to proactively recall these specific products.”
The recent recall was one of many that have occurred since the listeriosis outbreak in 2017.
The SABS said there were many factors that contributed to the recall of food, but there are systems that can be implemented for food safety.
“There are processes in the food value chain that need to be controlled despite challenges that may be experienced, such as excessive periods of no electricity which may compromise refrigeration and thus food quality, food warehouses that may have experienced rodent infestation or chemical leaks, and retailers that fail to remove expired products from their shelves.”