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Food labelling legislation.

dc.contributor.advisorMcQuoid-Mason, David Jan.
dc.contributor.advisorMcGill, A. E. J.
dc.contributor.authorLakhani, Chaya Pranlal.
dc.descriptionThesis (LL.M.)-University of Natal, Durban,1990.en
dc.description.abstractFood labelling serves to (a) inform consumers about the attributes of a food product so that they can make rational and well-informed choices; (b) assist manufacturers in marketing their product; and (c) warn consumers about the inherent risks of certain products, or ingredients in the product. The costs of labelling products fully and informatively are borne by consumers, but the benefits of labelling outweigh the costs. To understand the role of labelling in an regulatory system it is vital to consider the arrangement of the provisions protecting consumers generally before considering food laws and the labelling regulations. Furthermore, due to food being an international product, it is necessary to consider foreign countries and the manner they go about in protecting consumers. The United Nations, under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the \Vorld Health Organization (WHO), established a Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, called "Codex Alimentarius". The aim of the programme is to establish standards that can be used internationally to narrow the gap between developed countries and developing countries. To establish a standard various organs of the Codex Alimentarius are consulted. In addition, the standards have to comply with a prescribed format and follow a specified procedure. For the standard to be observed the member country has to incorporate the standard into its domestic laws. One of the advantages of the Codex Alimentarius is that the procedure to establish a standard is flexible. Australia, United Kingdom and the United States of America are member of the Codex Alimentarius. Australia, a federation of states, protects consumers by legislating either state and/or Commonwealth laws. Often there is a combination of statutes. Examples of subjects that are governed by both Commonwealth and states include false or misleading trade practices, and weights and measures. Commonwealth laws only deal with the freedom of information. Food laws are governed exclusively by state legislation. A significant area for future reform is uniformity of the state food laws. There are also other areas for future reform (eg date marking). England and Wales protect consumers by enacting statutes that relate to private and public rights. The important Acts that protect public rights are the Trade Descriptions Act, Weights and Measures Act, Consumer Protection Act, Fair Trading Act and Food Act. One of the provisions of the Criminal Courts Act is to protect personal rights when a consumer suffers personal injury, loss or damage as a result of the offender committing an criminal offence. Food labelling is governed by regulations, that are progressive. A fundamental criticism of the legislation and regulations is the lack of appropriate enforcement of the laws. The enforcement of most of the above Acts is delegated to the local weights and measures authorities. A further complication is the United Kingdom's membership of the European Economic Community. The United States of America enacts federal and state legislation. In protecting consumers in respect of food, it enacts federal legislation. The important Acts include the Fair Packaging and Labelling Act, the Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry and Poultry Products Inspection Act and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The United States government also encourages openness, with regards to its public agencies, by creating the Freedom of Information Act. The class action is an innovative remedy established in terms of the Civil Procedure Act. The enforcement of food laws is delegated to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The protection afforded by the United States government is complex and sophisticated. Its laws serve as model for many countries. The common law of South Africa has limited value in safeguarding consumers. Consumer protection arise mostly by way of legislation and regulations. Consumers are protected generally by the Measuring Units and National Measuring Standards Act, Trade Metrology Act, Trade Practices Act and Harmful Business Practices Act, Standards Act, Dairy Industries Act and the Marketing Act. Consumers are protected against harmful and injurious foodstuffs by the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, and the regulations promulgated in terms of the Act. There are several problems with the laws, eg lack of enforcement, lack of consumer awareness and education, and so on. An analysis of the foreign countries discussed in Part II result in the indication of twel ve themes. Part III examine the twelve themes and present solutions. Some of the solutions are based on comparisons with foreign countries discussed in Part 11. The main issues that need to be addressed in the short-term are the lack of consumer education and problems of enforcement of consumer protection. Long-term issues include the feasibility of introducing a department of consumer affairs and the provision of statutory civil remedies for consumers.en
dc.subjectConsumer protection--Law and legislation--South Africa.en
dc.subjectFood law and legislation--South Africa.en
dc.subjectLabels--Law and legislation--South Africa.en
dc.titleFood labelling legislation.en


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