Fake food – a growing problem in South Africa

Most of the consumers knowingly or unknowingly buy counterfeit goods due to cost or convenience. When it comes to counterfeit food items then the risks are quite high because it has a direct impact on our health. Counterfeit food items are made with cheap ingredients for the purpose of simulation. There is also a health risk with tampered food items in which adulterants are added to achieve profits. In South Africa, a chicken company was accused of carrying out similar practice some years ago but now the situation has become worrisome.

There are allegations that food items have been contaminated with non-food items like plastic, but the Minister of Health has stated that the department has not received any complaints, however, people are becoming ill after consuming the alleged product. The extent of counterfeiting in food market of South Africa has not been properly assessed but the general population thinks that it’s on the rise. However, South Africa was once affected by the largest foodborne disease listeriosis, but it was caused due to non-counterfeit food.

In South Africa, perishable foods have an expiration date after which they cannot be sold. On the other hand, non-perishable food items are printed with ‘best before dates’ -the dates are meant for ensuring quality and not safety. People often buy these products due to low costs. But the problem arises when expiration dates are tampered after which it becomes difficult to check the authenticity of the food item. Expired food items can cause various ailments and even death due to food poisoning. The entire blame for counterfeit food items has been put on alleged cartels and foreigners. South African Government is conducting raids on shops and is seizing fake goods.