Consumer goods council vows to keep fighting as court halts seizure of fake meat products

The government has directed producers to stop using meat-like names for non-meat products

The government has directed producers to stop using meat-like names for non-meat products Supplied by Spur

Meat analogue manufacturers were given a reprieve after the Johannesburg High Court interdicted the Food and Safety Agency (FSA) from seizing their products from retail stores.

The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) – which represents 9 000 members – approached the court on an urgent basis to stop the seizures meant to be implemented from Monday.

It also says it will try to have the FSA’s decision to “arbitrarily” seize plant-based meat alternatives overturned, arguing that neither the FSA nor the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) have regulatory powers over the naming of the products.

The seizures, if implemented, would have been the result of the DALRRD’s directive for producers of meat alternatives to change the labelling of their products to avoid using wording reserved for meat products. The FSA was set to implement the seizures following an announcement last week.

The controversial move to apply restrictions to the labelling of meat alternatives drew consternation from industry members, and Spur complained that US giant Beyond Meat had cancelled some shipments to SA for fear of product seizures, Fin24 reported.

The CGCSA argues that the regulations in question do not apply to faux meat products. It also says there is no evidence that consumers have confused the contents of the analogue food with real meat.

In a statement, it said: “The CGCSA will be seeking to overturn the decision of the FSA to arbitrarily seize meat analogue products by way of an appeal.”

The council further called for all stakeholders to collaborate on formulating applicable regulations.

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