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Enforcement of the Agricultural Product Standards Act

So how do you know the grade of the apple you are munching on? Or the steak you enjoyed last night? Did you pay a fair price for the quality of the product you were sold? Well, that’s how the Agricultural Product standards Act protects you, as a consumer.

What about as a producer and processor? It’s about your legal responsibility to ensure that agricultural products are graded and labelled correctly so as not to mislead the consumer.

The APSA has existed since 1990, some of the regulations under this act are even older. But there has been a revival in the last few months with the department of Agriculture issuing changes to the Act to allow for audits of food business operators and the testing of product samples in accordance with the act.

Why now you may ask? It’s a good question but we expect the government to do their jobs don’t we? According to DAFF, the importance of implementing these regulations will result in the promotion of fair trade practices and consumer protection. Consistent quality products in keeping with claims will be sold to consumers and thus resulting in sellers being fairly rewarded for their production effort. The enforcement of the regulations will further result in the prevention of poor quality products being imported into South Africa. Both locally produced and imported products will be subjected fairly to the same regulation(s) under the enforcement wing of the assignees.

But what is the catch? One of the challenges is duplication and triple inspections – there is a real risk that the same bag of flour can be inspected once when it’s wheat, once when it’s turned into flour, once when it’s delivered and once when it’s a bread. This will result in an accumulation of costs which has already hit the press.

There are other questions to be answered:

  • What products will be tested
  • What test will be conducted on the products
  • What action will be taken if there are non-conformances
  • How often will we get tested?
  • Who are these assignees, why have they been selected?
  • What to expect on an inspection
  • Do I get a report/certificate?
  • How much warning/notice will we get (announced/unannounced)
  • How will the sample be handled?
  • How can I prepare/what should I prepare?
  • Is there additional documentation that is needed?
  • If I am doing my own product testing, will I still need to do additional tests?
  • Will I still need to do my regular audits?
  • Will the retailers accept the inspection results?
  • What about imported foods?

Come and join us at our workshop where we host DAFF and the assignees to get some clarity on the subject.

Download APS Brochure v1.pdf