Cape Town, South Africa – Donkey meat is being fraudulently sold on the South African market packaged with products like burger patties, deli meats, and sausages.
Based on a new study performed by Stellenbosch University, up to 68 percent of 139 meat products tested found meat originating from donkey, soya, goat, and water buffalo — all undeclared on product packaging labels.
South African ioL news reported that the study was published in the International Food Control journal and was conducted by Dr Donna-Maree Cawthorn and Professor Louw Hoffman of the Stellenbosch University Department of Animal Sciences with the assistance of Harris Steinman of Food and Allergy Consulting and Testing Services.
This discovery follows several other international meat scandals which have made recent headlines.
Professor Louw Hoffman said, “Our study confirms that the [mislabeling] of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food [labeling] regulations, but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts.”
According to fin24, all of the products tested were collected from retail establishments and meat markets.
Aside from donkey meat, other meat substitutions were found including pork and chicken, which were the most commonly detected species in products that were not supposed to contain them.
“Unconventional species such as donkey, goat and water buffalo were also discovered in a number of products,” Hoffman said. “Our findings raise significant concern on the functioning of the meat supply chain in South Africa … Even though we have local regulations that protect consumers from being sold falsely described or inferior foodstuffs, we need these measures to be appropriately enforced.”
Dr Donna-Maree Cawthorn said, “Clearly, our consumers cannot generally [accept] that the meat products they buy are correctly [labeled] … The meat industry’s failure to provide vital information on products may not only decrease consumer confidence in their [organizations], but also in the meat industry as a whole.”
This study comes just two weeks after UK Border Agency customs officials seized nearly 48 tons of illegal horse and donkey meat from shipping containers at London’s Heathrow and Manchester airports as well as the Tilbury docks in Essex and docks in Liverpool.