The South Africa government has launched an investigation into the labelling of meat products in the country after independent research found products contained undeclared donkey, water buffalo and goat.

According to researchers at the University of Stellenbosch, a majority of South African supermarkets could be selling mislabelled meat products. Of 139 samples taken by the researchers, 68% tested positive for ingredients not listed on the packaging.

The Minister for Trade and Industry Rob Davies has thrown his weight behind an investigation, which will be carried out by the National Consumer Commission. Davies insisted that if incorrectly labelled meat has made its way onto South African shelves it breaches the Consumer Protection Act.

“It is imperative that whatever is put out for human consumption must comply with the labelling and disclosure requirements as contained in the CPA,” the Commission said.

The Commission emphasised it is the responsibility of “each and every person/supplier within the value chain” to ensure that products are accurately labelled.

“Retailers must be aware that they equally have a responsibility as the end suppliers of food products to ensure that the labels on the products they supply to consumers are compliant with the labelling requirements as stipulated in the CPA,” the Commission warned.

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By GlobalData

The revelations come six weeks into a scandal that has engulfed Europe involving the incorrect labelling of beef products, which were found to contain horsemeat.