Reports about fake food and other products including used condoms, allegedly sold by some foreigners, the health department has expressed its concern to consumers and suggests they remain vigilant when buying.1 Penny Campbell, the director of the food directorate at the national department of health, has said that consumers or rather victims of fake foods should be on the lookout (alert) and report illicit food and goods sold to the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa and alert regulators about fake products.2 Distributors of such illicit goods contravene the Counterfeit Goods and Foodstuffs acts.3 The Star newspaper, which alleged that the scandal traces back to Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals in Johannesburg who produce and sell fake food.4 (TimesLive)
This is alarming and local authorities are acting swiftly to shut down many of these fraudulent Spaza shops.5 Amongst the scandals that have erupted from this are the recently exposed “doctor” Mathew Lani sold fake medicine and authorities says the barcodes on the medicines shows them to be counterfeit goods.6 The evidence for this was found by Campbell herself who was present at the scene.7 (Times Live) All this will prove to show that we need to be vigilant and weary of where we buy our food from. The end result is that consumers such as ourselves have to be vigilant of these “small” shops and what is sold to us. The Municipal authorities should not cease in their own inspections as to ensure these local businesses comply with regulations.
Meanwhile obesity still remains a serious source of health problems. All health issues related to obesity cost the public health system up to R 36-billion in 2020.8 About one in four citizens of South Africa are obese, and almost as many of them are overweight.9 The credit for the country’s high obesity levels goes to consuming highly processed foods with lots of sugar, salt or fat, and fast food generally being cheaper than healthier options add to the country’s obesity problems.10 Fifteen percent of those who recede in South Africa have type two diabetes, an illness that develops when your body can no longer make enough of the hormone insulin to control your blood sugar levels.11 Almost nine out of ten cases of this type of diabetes among South Africans can be linked to obesity and overweight, as shown by research.12 (Bhekisisa)
The issue of obesity leaves much to be desired and the risk that leads to diabetes shows that all is not safe as regards to what we eat. The health department has its policy to think about when it comes to limiting the impact of unhealthy foods. This means they should subsidize (that means pay the producers to keep the price low) the healthy options or find a way to grow them on South African soil. This could also contribute to creating jobs. The government needs to look at ways to improve the market for healthier foods such fruit, vegetable, or meat. They need to ensure that crops that grow with little rain become a part of the country’s agrarian culture. This is a nation which has vast resources. To grow and produce food that is healthy should be among the government’s number one priority. Focusing on educating the children about the effects of unhealthy sugary and processed foods should also play a role. Only time will tell how this plays out. Taxes on these kinds of foods is only the tip of the iceberg.