During lockdown Level 5, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) advised consumers to verify whether the producers of sanitisers, that claim to be SABS Approved or carry the SABS Mark Scheme number, are valid claims.

Earlier this year, while we were still in lockdown Level 5, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) advised consumers to verify whether the producers of sanitizers, that claim to be SABS Approved or carry the SABS Mark Scheme number, are valid claims.

The SABS had received numerous queries regarding the fraudulent use of the SABS Approved Mark on products and in their press release in April, they indicated they had legal action against the illegal use of the mark.

What is an SABS approved sanitiser?

“The SABS Approved sanitisers will bear the SABS Approved logo and should have one or both the SANS 490 and SANS 1853 Marks below the SABS logo. The Mark can be affixed onto the bottle with a sticker or be imprinted on the bottle. The product must clearly stipulate the batch number, the expiry date, the ingredients, and the percentage of the alcohol used.”

SANS 490 has since been updated and the 2020 edition was published in October.

All South African National Standards (SANS) are developed by various industry experts, technical specialists, academics, practitioners, government officials, and citizens. The technical committee (TC), SABS/TC 1022 is responsible for a wide range of standards within the field of antiseptics, disinfectants, and detergent disinfectants. Of the 37 standards published by the TC, the two that are relevant to hand sanitizers which are alcohol-based, are contained in SANS 490 and SANS 1853.

The SABS is aware that there are a large number of manufacturers who are fraudulently using the SABS Approved mark on their products and we have instituted legal proceedings against these infringements, however, the SABS does not have the authority to instigate product recalls.

“While we regularly monitor the abuse of the Mark Scheme we appreciate the reports from the public. The SABS has been inundated with reports of fraudulent use by manufacturers. We have also noticed a rise in the number of fake test reports, SABS Permits, and the incorrect SABS Approved logos on products.” Jodi Scholtz, Lead Administrator of SABS.

Food manufacturers and Consumers are advised to check the certification status of companies on the SABS website. The SABS site ( lists all manufacturers who are currently certified.

About the standards

SANS 490, updated and published in 2020 is a specific standard that addresses alcohol-based hand rubs for the purposes of disinfecting
SANS 1853, published in 2009 and revised in 2017, provides the specifications for disinfectants, detergent-disinfectants, and antiseptics for use in the food industry. It is important to note that SANS 1853 also references SANS 490

Why buy SABS Approved sanitizers?

According to the SABS, The term SABS Approved refers only to products that have been submitted for certification and have successfully attained the product certification scheme offered by the SABS. The product would have undergone the following:
• vigorous testing to ensure that it complies with SANS 490 or SANS 1853 standard requirements
• Audited regularly over a period of time with samples being taken from the factory and/or retail stores. These tests ensure that the product is fit for purpose, safe for use and that the product is consistent
• In addition to meeting the requirements of the standard/s relevant to the product, the manufacturer will have, at the very least a basic quality management system to ensure that the product is consistent throughout the production process


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