October 24, 2022

SA GOVERNMENT PLANT-BASED MEAT BAN HALTED FOR NOW


After a temporary victory last month, South Africa’s plant-based food sector is still fighting against the Food Safety Agency’s (FSA) plan to seize all plant-based meat alternatives from retailers for using product terms such as “burger,” “nugget,” and “sausage”. 

A notice issued by the FSA said that they would “seize any meat analogue products presented for sale in the Republic of South Africa which are using the product names prescribed for processed meat products in terms of section 8 of the Agricultural Product Standards Act 119 of 1990 (the Act) at all points of sale, i.e., facilities, premises (retail and wholesale), conveyances, etc.” Product seizures were set to occur on 22 August, after a directive was made to retailers of plant-based meat that they had just 30 days to remove their products for relabelling of face seizures. 

Several steps were taken to accommodate this directive put out by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD). 

“We followed the procedure set out in the Agricultural Products Standards Act which required we lodge the objection within 10-days of receiving the direction. According to the Agricultural Products Standards Act DALRRD now must convene a tribunal to evaluate our objection, and no legal action, including product seizures, can be taken against Fry’s or LIVEKINDLY Collective Africa in terms of FSA’s direction until that process has been completed,” says a statement from Fry’s a vegan brand of plant-based meat alternatives. 

In an effort to stop the seizure, several stakeholders in ProVeg, a pro-vegan advocacy group, and several other plant-based groups, have been very active in the legal procedures to prevent the seizure. 

“ProVeg South Africa has and will continue to opt for non-legal routes to ensure that new and appropriate regulations are developed for plant-based meat alternatives that are approved and carry the interests of the plant-based food industry, DALRRD and the meat and processed meat industries. ProVeg South Africa carries the interests of both plant-based manufacturers and consumers and will continue to be a public voice for both. We urge the government to fast-track the development of new regulations without any punitive measures on the plant-based sector in the interim,” says ProVeg in a statement to the public.

On 20 August, the Johannesburg High Court ruled that the DALRRD and its designated assignee, FSA were prohibited from seizing any plant-based meat alternatives they deemed to be in breach of Regulation 1283 of the Agricultural Product Standard Act 199 of 1990, essentially halting the seizing of plant-based meat alternatives, for now.