The researchers reported that anything from soya, donkey, goat and water buffalo were to be found in up to 68 percent of the 139 minced meats, burger patties, deli meats, sausages and dried meats that were tested.

Cape Town - The Stellenbosch scientists who found traces of donkey, water buffalo and goat meat in South African meat products have been urged to report the producers to authorities.

The Red Meat Industry Forum’s chairman, Dave Ford, on Wednesday night said: “The RMIF believes that it is incumbent on Professor Louw Hoffman and his colleagues, if they possess incontrovertible factual evidence to report the transgressors to the relevant authorities for investigation.”

The forum, which represented the red meat industry chain, from primary producer through the abattoir to the meat trader and eventually the consumer, had “noted with extreme concern the condemning statements made on the research findings by Hoffman and his colleagues on the inclusion of various unlabelled ingredients used in meat products sampled from retail butcher stores and butcheries”, Ford said.

“The RMIF previously brought certain fraudulent and unscrupulous importing and illegal labelling practice by a Cape Town importer to the attention of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the National Prosecuting Authority, who took little or no steps with regards hereto.

“It was at this stage that the RMIF successfully took legal steps to interdict this importer.”

Ford said legislative measures were in place to enable the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Department of Health, to test meat products in butcheries routinely for ingredients and species, verify correct labelling practices and to act against transgressors and bring them to book.

Ronel Burger, head of the food safety initiative at the Consumer Goods Council of SA, called on the industry and members to work with regulators to ensure that the supply chain practices were safe and could be trusted by consumers for consumption.

Cape Argus