South African plant-based food producers and consumers can breathe a sigh of relief after the Johannesburg High Court halted proposed seizures of products with “meaty” names. A well-known local producer has continued to make jokes about the government’s contentious proposal.
Despite the government’s efforts to prohibit the sale of vegetarian burgers, nuggets, sausages, and biltong because their names are too similar to those of processed meat products, these items will continue to be available in South Africa.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development states that meat analogues must not use “the product names prescribed and reserved for processed meat products.” These foods are designed to look, taste, and feel like meat products (DALRRD).
The Agricultural Product Standards Act 199 of 1990, which prohibits plant-based foods with meaty names, and the 2019 Agricultural Product Standards Act, which deals with the classification, packing, and labelling of processed meat products, were cited by the department.
The most recent social media post, which was published on Friday, seemed to allude to widespread concern that government-led seizures would begin the following Monday.
“Hey fans, it appears our ‘Unidentified Frying Objects’ are causing quite a stir again,” the Fry Family Food Co. said on Facebook.
“Please be assured that your local Fry’s is open for business. We’ve taken precautions to ensure the safety of our products, so you can rest easy and continue to enjoy your favourite plant-based foods.”
A link to M.C. Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” from the 1990s was included at the end of the post, ostensibly in response to the DALRRD and Food Safety Agency’s failed seizure attempt on Monday.
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