Beef products imported from Europe and distributed in Zambia by leading meat company Zambeef have tested positive for aromatic aldehyde, a chemical which can cause cancer.

Parliament - The public has a right to know whether various imported meat products, including water buffalo, donkey and horse meat, are “potentially harmful”, the DA said on Friday.

In a recent reply to a parliamentary question, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson revealed that various meat products were being imported into South Africa from Brazil and India, Democratic Alliance MP Annette Steyn said in a statement.

“This is despite meat from these countries being considered as posing a 'significant risk',” she said.

The reply did not disclose the names of the parties responsible for the imports.

“It is imperative that South Africa knows the reasons why the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries considers meat from these countries potentially harmful.”

Steyn said her party would submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to the department, to “determine exactly why this meat is considered hazardous, and who the responsible parties are”.

According to the reply, thousands of kilograms of various types of meat have been imported from Brazil and India over the past three years.

“The DA trusts that Minister Joemat-Pettersson will co-operate and respond to our PAIA application to provide us with the information requested. The public deserves to know,” Steyn said. - Sapa