1967 – Animal Slaughter, Meat and Animal Products Hygiene Act, 1967



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1967Animal Slaughter, Meat and Animal Products Hygiene Act, 1967 (Act 87 of 1967)

  • 1967Animal Slaughter, Meat and Animal Products Hygiene Act, 1967 (Act 87 of 1967)

      • The Act required Meat Inspection Service to be provided exclusively by government (Department of Agriculture) and various Municipal spheres of Government
  • 1992Abattoir Hygiene Act, 1992 (Act 121 of 1992)

      • The Act made a revolutionary change by privatising Meat Inspection Service.
      • Abattoir owners were required to employ their own meat inspection staff
      • A number of government employed officials responsible for Meat Inspection Service were made redundant and had to join the employ of private abattoirs
      • Meat Hygiene Directorate of the Department, and various structures previously responsible for monitoring meat safety were effectively dismantled


2000 Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act No 40 of 2000)

  • 2000 Meat Safety Act, 2000 (Act No 40 of 2000)

  • The Act made a Meat Inspection Service to be rendered “independently from the abattoir”.

  • As such, the Act required the abattoir to “procure” Meat Inspection Service. Effectively, the Act meant that abattoirs cannot perform their own meat inspection

  • The Act also stipulated from whom the Meat Inspection Services must be procured from, i.e. Meat Inspection Service can only be rendered by the National Executive Officer, a Provincial Executive Officer, an Authorised Person or an assignee.

  • The Act also outlined the processes for the NEO to delegate and assign certain powers and duties to such an Authorised Person.

  • The Act also clearly outlined the process for the designation of such assignees.

  • The Act made it the responsibility of The Minister to designate National Executive Officer [and MEC’s to designate Provincial Executive Officers (PEOs)].

  • In summary, the Act returned the control of Meat Inspection Service back to The Minister.



      • The abattoir owner must “procure meat inspection service” (section 11(1)(b), and that meat inspection function must be performed independently of the abattoir (section 11(1)(c), and meat inspection may only be performed by:
      • National Executive Officer (NEO) – National Department (DAFF)
      • Provincial Executive Officer (PEO) – Provincial Departments (PDAs)
      • Assignee (Single/Multiple) – established in terms of section 4 of the Act
      • Authorized person
  • The industry proposal seemed to suggest that only an assignee must render meat inspection – this is devoid of substance and truth, and is most regrettable

  • The major weakness in the Meat Safety Act was the failure to define “independency” that was contemplated – this left a vacuum for wide range of interpretations

  • World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) describes “technical independence” as

      • To exercise a profession with due diligence, ethically and impartially, and free from any financial, hierarchical, political, or otherwise pressures


Poultry – Waiver of independence from meat inspection – in-house meat inspection services

  • Poultry – Waiver of independence from meat inspection – in-house meat inspection services

  • In limited areas, the service is offered by PEOs (PDAs)

  • Until recently, NEO (DAFF) was also involved in few abattoirs

  • Majority of meat inspection is offered by various private service providers, ranging from one person to big companies –

  • These private entities employ Meat Inspectors, and deploy such Meat Inspectors to abattoirs that have procured Meat Inspection Service from them.

  • Abattoirs pay the private entity, and in-turn the private entity pays the salary of the individual Meat Inspector, a system similar to “labour-brokers”



Meat Inspection personnel are at the abattoirs FULL-TIME, and they oversee, approve and stamp each carcass

  • Meat Inspection personnel are at the abattoirs FULL-TIME, and they oversee, approve and stamp each carcass

  • Although government visit abattoirs at regular intervals there is NO full-time presence of government official at all times

  • Other than concerns over labour practices, the current system should be working very well if it was not being sabotaged by devious abattoir owners

  • There are reports and evidence of some abattoirs putting pressure on meat inspectors (authorised persons) to pass products of questionable and/or poor quality



Poor remuneration of meat inspection personnel – Lack of job stability – Inexperienced personnel – Possible poor decision making – Compromise to meat safety

  • Poor remuneration of meat inspection personnel – Lack of job stability – Inexperienced personnel – Possible poor decision making – Compromise to meat safety

  • Current meat inspection “costing” not affordable to small volume abattoirs

  • Meat inspection not standardized across the country

  • Government capacity to provide oversight is limited in certain Provinces due to human resource capacity and financial resource challenges

  • Different approaches by government to enforce existing legislation (norms and standards)

  • Poor understanding of matters of meat safety by Senior Management and Senior Politicians in certain Provinces, hence poor resource allocation



The “intergovernmental” consultative process made the following pronunciations:

  • The “intergovernmental” consultative process made the following pronunciations:

      • Meat Inspection Service is an important function that guarantees the safety of meat to the consumer.
      • In South Africa, Meat Inspection Service was for a long time a function of government. Just prior to 1994, this function was taken away from government and privatised - Government Veterinary Public Health (Food Hygiene) structures were effectively dismantled. Meat Inspection personnel employed by government at a time were made redundant – and were made to be employed by the private sector.
      • There has been a dismal failure by the private sector to effectively perform Meat Inspection Service independently, hence the present discussions and current challenges. Presently, the bulk of Meat Inspection service is still performed by the private sector; it is clear that the private sector is still failing the consumers in as far as technical independence.


The present “privatised system” would work perfectly well if the INDUSTRY did not interfere with the “technical independency” of the Meat Inspectors on the ground.

  • The present “privatised system” would work perfectly well if the INDUSTRY did not interfere with the “technical independency” of the Meat Inspectors on the ground.

      • From the recommendations of the “first consultative process”, it can be deduced that the industry wanted to maintain the status quo through their Independent Meat Inspection (IMI) proposal of a single industry approved assignee to conduct meat inspection at all abattoirs in the country.
      • The industry created/ proposed/ endorsed assignee would still be “industry/ privately-owned”, and would be no different from the current system, and would be prone to same challenges that currently exist “ie- tempering with technical independency of the Meat Inspector or National Executive Officer”.
      • Given the dismal failure by the private sector to render such services in a technically independent and impartial manner, a decision to remove these services from government is considered not to have been well thought and ill-advised.


Final proposal

    • Final proposal
      • As such, “a capacity shall be re-established within government to render and manage meat inspection services”. Rendering of such service shall still be subjected to cost recovery as envisaged in section 11(1)(b), i.e. Abattoir owner must procure these services.
      • However, due to the required financial and human resource planning, such capacity shall be developed in phases over a period of time.





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