Dept to properly package & label imported US meats

Dept of Trade & Industry says it will ensure that consumers know where their meat comes from.

Rob Davies addressing the media and the public on government’s decision on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on 4 January 2016. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said his department will be discussing the packaging of imported chicken from America, to ensure consumers know where their poultry comes from.

Davies said South Africa has managed to negotiate a reasonable deal to secure the country's participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Chicken imported from the United States is set to hit the shelves for the first time in 15 years.

Davies said the United States is not the only place that South Africa imports chicken from.

For years the country has been importing from the European Union.

Agri-SA's Thabi Nkosi said it's mainly bone portions or brown meat that will be imported.

"They will be largely looking at your brown meat. It will be very difficult to tell what is South African, what is American, and then it won't taste any different.

"It could have a slight impact on the price that you pay for chicken, American chicken is produced a little bit cheaper, and they're able to bring it into the country a little cheaper."

The first shipment of American poultry arrived in Durban last Friday and should be on the shelves in two weeks.

The South Africa government late last year concluded negotiations with US authorities on the import of poultry, beef and pork.

Government was under pressure to open its market to certain meat products from the US or face compromising trade agreements under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The South African Poultry Association's Kevin Lovelle said the organisation is still apprehensive.

"The products that are coming in from the US have higher food safety risks than products from other exporting countries. We don't think that's fair that they can export to us at lower standards than we have to farm to because all standards cost money, so it's a competitive thing as well as a food safety thing."

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