GS1 South Africa t/a Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) has partnered with Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) to raise awareness on food safety and quality at a workshop held today in Mangaung, Bloemfontein. Also participating in the workshop was the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) and Mangaung Metro.

The workshop is aligned with the World Consumer Day which is celebrated annually on 15 March, to raise awareness about consumer rights to access information on the quality, purity, price and standard of goods and service they purchase. CGCSA used the workshop to particularly highlight the importance of food safety and health, identification, track and trace of products and suppliers, which has become an even more important issue following the recent unfortunate deaths of people from food poisoning and claims that people were being sold counterfeit food products.

Matlou Setati, CGCSA Executive: Food Safety and Sustainability Initiative, says following these incidents, we are appreciative that Coca Cola decided to partner with us to embark on a public outreach programme to educate consumers, manufactures, bottlers, retailers and law enforcement about what to look out for in terms of counterfeit goods. This outreach has mostly used media platforms to educate the public on the dangers of food fraud, counterfeit and illicit products and what key information to look for during their shopping and on pack.

“We also want to restore the trust of people in locally manufactured and legitimately imported products. The ultimate aim is to protect the safety of consumers when they buy food products. CGCSA is happy that these media interventions have led to an increase in calls received through our hotline 08001 4856 which in the main included reports on sale of expired goods. The Consumer Goods Risk Initiative (CGRI) division of the CGCSA assists authorities, particularly law enforcement, to address this public health matter and these alerts from the community help. We urge the public to report any suspicious activities relating to illicit, counterfeit and food fraud,” Setati continues.

Setati listed the impact and implications of those trading in counterfeit products:

  • It impacted on legitimate brand owners who are losing both customers and market share to counterfeit products which are sold at well below retail prices
  • Large and small businesses owners are competing against cheaper yet unsafe products, and for brand owners, there is loss of potential income as their products are counterfeited
  • Small businesses may be forced to close their businesses with losses in both income and employment
  • For the economy, there is loss of revenue for the government as people selling counterfeit goods do not pay applicable taxes such as VAT
  • There are also health risks related to counterfeited and expired food products as it cannot be assured if they are produced under health and safety required standards

“It is therefore clear that we need a multi-stakeholder approach to address this problem which has both public health safety and economic implications for the country. CGCSA is working with brand owners through such initiatives as promoting the adoption and use of approved barcodes through GS1 South Africa (Global Data Synchronisation Network, 2D Barcodes, Verified by GS1) and through CGCRI securing the food supply chain to ensure the integrity of the supply system from manufacturers to the retailers and small businesses,” concluded Setati.



Categories: Consumer Goods Council of SA.