ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

Your favourite burger patty may be lean on beef

Wendy Knowler a consumer journalist with the Times Media Group has written an article revealing misleading packages and labeling on so-called beef products.

Knowler tells Talk Radio 702's Azania Mosaka that her colleague bought a product for the first time and had her attention drawn to the front of the package which read "beef (36%)" in relatively small letters.

The upshot is that the pack is perfectly legal. The labeling regulations say that in the case of frozen goods, the water and the meat has to be declared.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist, Times Media Group

Knowler stresses that consumers don't read the small print on food packages. The regulation is known as Quid or Quantitative Ingredient Declaration.

It states that if a food manufacturer emphasises a key, usually expensive, ingredient in the name or description of a product, it has to declare the percentage of that ingredient in bold on the front of the pack.

You see this picture of the lovely, juicy, sizzling patty. You see the word beefers and you don't think beyond that.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist, Times Media Group

Should it be okay for a product that's less than half the main ingredient to be called beef?

Wendy Knowler, Consumer Journalist, Times Media Group

Knowler says the Consumer Protection Acts states that a company or supplier may not, through words or images create a misleading impression for a consumer.

She adds that the labeling regulations are far more detailed, regulating how and what needs to be declared and under which circumstances.

Knowler also shares that most consumers are unaware that the words “boerewors ” and “braaiwors ” are descriptions mainly used by manufacturers but are misleading to the consumers. Boerewors should have a meat content of beef with lamb or pork, or a mixture of the two. But it should be no less than 90% and a fat content of 30% at most, says Knowler.

Listen to the full interview in the audio below:


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