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DTI waits on meat labelling probe

Trade & Industry dept. is unable to set an exact deadline for its probe into a meat labelling scandal.

 The National Consumer Commission has launched an independent probe into the SA meat scandal.  Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - It is unclear when the National Consumer Commission will complete its investigation into a meat labelling scandal, Trade and Industry Department officials said on Tuesday.

Research conducted earlier this year by Stellenboch University and the University of the Western Cape showed up to 68 percent of so-called undeclared species were found in some meat products on our shelves.

People and organisations involved in the meat industry briefed parliamentarians on the issue on Tuesday.

The department's Andiswa Potwana said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies hopes to get feedback from the commission soon.

He said businesses found guilty of omitting data or putting the wrong information on their labels could face a hefty penalty.

"Penalties could be R1 million or 10 percent of a firm's total annual turnover in the preceding financial year, whichever is the greater. There are also compliance notices that can be issued for a particular firm or business to comply with."

Potwana, however, said there are a lot of legal processes involved before a fine can be imposed.

"Because of the complexities of particular matters these cases take a long time to be investigated and for prosecution to take place. When big firms start to get prosecuted or investigated they employ the big-gun lawyers, which then tends to take a lot of time due to technical issues."

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