The strategy is an international initiative aimed at improving human health in relation to obesity and non-communicable disease rates worldwide.

The Department of Health is on track to tighten regulations on food labelling and advertising to reduce non-communicable diseases and address latest international developments of the Codex Alimentarius Commission including the misinterpretation of food date marking.

Food code

The Codex Alimentarius, or “Food Code” is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the commission.

Codex standards ensure that food is safe and can be traded.

The 188 Codex members have negotiated science based recommendations in all areas related to food safety and quality

Healthy food

The department said healthy food choices are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and South Africa is one the countries that committed to implement the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health.

The strategy is an international initiative aimed at the improvement of human health, particularly in relation to increased obesity and non-communicable disease rates world-wide.

The department said it supports this initiative and is of the view that the country can practically implement this Strategy by means of healthy food choices and improving nutrition through, amongst others, accurate and fair labelling practices.

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Check contents of food

“The department urges all consumers to be aware of the contents of the foodstuff they purchase and consume by first reading the information reflected on the label/ packaging of the product especially storage instructions.”

“After considering the large volume of comments received on the draft revised regulations (R429 of 2014) on the Food Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs and further consultation with relevant stake holders, the department commissioned research into the type of Front of Pack labels that would be easily identified by South Africans,” it said.

Socio-Economic Impact Assessment

The Health Department said the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIAS) of the proposed regulations have also been assessed and supported by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

“The department will soon publish these revised regulations for comment.”

“The intention of the draft labelling regulations is to provide clear guidance on the ‘dos and don’ts’ regarding the information provided on the labels and in advertisements of foodstuffs, which will be beneficial to both consumers and manufacturers,” the department added.

Public comment

The department has encouraged South Africans for their feedback on the draft regulations once published.

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