The Department of Health has announced that it will look into the safety of alleged ‘fake foods’ which were featured in videos widely circulated on social media.
“Due to the high volume of complaints received by the department in the past few days, we take these allegations seriously as potential for danger to human health,” said spokesperson Popo Maja.
“We have the responsibility to determine if there is truth to these allegations, and where necessary take urgent action against perpetrators.”
The department added that while the authenticity of the videos cannot be verified, some cases are currently being investigated by environmental health practitioners based in municipalities across the country.
“The Ministry of Health views these allegations as serious and has instructed provinces and municipalities to investigate all these claims. Municipalities have embarked on special blitzes to inspect foodstuff sold mainly in township outlets. This is a special operation over and above the normal routine monitoring done by health inspectors,” said Maja.
The foodstuffs alleged to be fake, containing harmful food colourants, or are expired include:
- Fake eggs
- Fake plastic rice and fish;
- Fake beef;
- Fake mutton;
- Fanta grape 1.25 litre;
- Stoney ginger beer;
- Fanta orange 1.25 litre;
- Twist granadilla 2 litre;
- Tonic water 1 litre;
- Valpre spring water;
- Albany brown bread
- Blue Band margarine;
- Syrup being sold as honey;
- Baked beans sold in fish tins
According to Maja, the food industry has also been requested to confirm the authenticity of the potential counterfeit foodstuffs which include verifying the brands of their products such as soft drinks, tinned foodstuffs as currently displayed on social media platforms.
“The department is working in partnership with other government regulatory authorities from Agriculture and Trade and Industry, including the National Consumer Commission, to confirm allegations of compromised quality standards,” said Maja.
“The public is encouraged to notify environmental health practitioners and the South African Police Services regarding any suspicious foodstuffs and provide evidence where possible,” said Maja.
Despite the ‘fake’ food products doing rounds on social media, the Ministry of Health said it has not received reports or notifications of human illness associated with the products.