Monitoring at SA ports inadequate - report

A report has found that more needs to be done to tighten the laws regarding products that enter the country.

A report has found that more needs to be done to tighten the laws regarding products that enter the country. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

CAPE TOWN - A report on food control and labelling has found monitoring and inspection at the country's ports are inadequate.

Three government departments held a consultative workshop in May in the wake of the country's meat labelling scandal.

They then compiled a report which was handed over to Members of Parliament (MPs) on Friday.

According to the report, customs officials cannot electronically alert or send pre-arrival notifications of consignments to officials from the departments of health and agriculture.

This makes it difficult for those departments to know about products under their respective control unless the importer voluntarily informs the relevant authorities.

In addition food under the Foodstuff, Cosmetic and Disinfectant Act can be brought into the country without the need for an import permit.

This can create a grey area because as soon as the product is released at the port of entry, it becomes difficult to trace it in the system because of gaps in the existing legislation.

One of the report's recommendations is that an electronic filing system be developed so that information can be shared between agencies involved in border control.