The study found that anything from soya, donkey, goat and water buffalo were to be found in up to 68% of the 139 minced meats, burger patties, deli meats, sausages and dried meats that were tested. In other cases, even undeclared plant matter was detected.
These ingredients were not declared on the products’ packaging labels.
The findings follow in the wake of various international food produce scandals that have made headlines.
The study was published in the international Food Control journal, and was done by Dr Donna-Maree Cawthorn and Prof. Louw Hoffman of the Stellenbosch University Department of Animal Sciences, in conjunction with Harris Steinman of the Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services (F.A.C.T.S) in Milnerton.
“Our study confirms that the mislabelling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labelling regulations, but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts,” says Prof. Louw Hoffman of the Department of Animal Sciences.
The products tested were collected from retail outlets and butcheries.
Of the 139 samples tested, 95 (68%) contained species which were not declared on the product labelling. The scapegoats in general were sausages, burger patties and deli meats.
Read the rest of the SA Consumers also Cheated with Meat Products article.