In many countries, especially in highly developed economies such as the European
Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA), food products must meet
specific legislated standards. For processed fruits, vegetables and nuts that are
subject to DAFF regulation when exported from South Africa, the DAFF regulations
usually ensure that the products meet EU and USA legislated requirements.
Food products derived from plant material and not subject to DAFF regulation may
have to be tested against the legislated standards of the foreign market. This can
usually be done in South Africa.
Most food products exported to the USA have to be tested by the US Food and
Drug Administration; the exceptions are products such as confectionery, dairy
products, eggs and egg products, meats, fruits, nuts and vegetables, which are
subject to the requirements of the Department of Agriculture (USDA). DAFF has
strong working relationships with the USDA.
In addition, all suppliers of food products (including processed fruits, vegetables
and nuts) must register with the US Food and Drug Administration in terms of the
Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended in terms of the bioterrorism
Japan imposes regulations and controls on imported food products, including
processed fruits, vegetables and nuts. The website of the Japanese External Trade
Organisation (JETRO) gives details of the relevant Acts and provides manuals on
import regulations; see www.jetro.go.jp > Reports and Statistics > Standards and
In addition to the legislated standards, the private sectors in many countries have
introduced their own standards with which suppliers in developing countries, such
as South Africa, have to comply.
Should the foreign buyer request to deviate from the labelling requirements of DAFF,
the exporter is required to apply for approval from DAFF by submitting legal/official
legislation from the importing country to the executive officer of the Agricultural
Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act No. 119 of 1990).
5.1 HACCP system
Although HACCP has been discussed in Chapter 4 it is important to note that,
although a requirement of the South African DAFF/Department of Health for food
products, it is not necessarily a legal requirement in EU countries. However, it is the
minimum standard required in the retail trade in these countries.
The EU comprises 28 member countries : Austria, Belgium,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia,
Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands.
During the last 15 years or so ’consumer health and safety‘ has become an
increasingly important issue in international trade, and for major retail chains
in Europe HACCP is no longer regarded as the required standard.
5.2 British Retail Consortium Global Standards (BRC)
The BRC Global Standards are a suite of four industry-leading technical standards
that specify requirements to be met by an organisation to enable the production,
packaging, storage and distribution of safe food and consumer products. Originally
developed in response to the needs of UK members of the British Retail Consortium,
the standards have gained usage worldwide and are specified by growing numbers
of retailers and branded manufacturers in the EU, North America and further afield.
Information on BRC is available at: www.brcglobalstandards.com > Standards >
Food, and browse the various information options.
Training in BRC standards is available in South Africa – refer to Chapter 10 where
information about training organisations is given.
5.3 International Standards Organisation (ISO) and ISO 22000 series on
The International Standards Organisation (ISO) was founded in 1946 to promote the
development of international standards and related activities, including conformity
assessment, in order to facilitate the exchange of goods and services worldwide.
ISO is composed of member bodies from many countries. The member body and the
national standards marking body for South Africa is the South African Bureau of Standards
(SABS). ISO’s work covers all areas except those related to electrical and electronic
engineering. The ISO 22000 family of international standards addresses different
aspects of food safety management; ISO 22000:2005 contains the overall guidelines
for food safety management. Information is available at www.iso.org > standards >
management-standards > iso22000.
ISO 22000 has been designed to align with the ISO 9000 series on quality management
(see below) and can be aligned or integrated with existing related management system
requirements. It includes the principles of HACCP and application steps developed by
the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
The Codex Alimentarius, a joint initiative of the Food and Agricultural
Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), is
an intergovernmental organisation comprising representatives of
more than 167 countries and observers, including representatives of
international organisations, the business community and consumer
As its principal purpose is the protection of consumer health, the main
task of the Codex Alimentarius is the development of internationally
accepted uniform standards that promote food safety.
Allied to ISO 22000 is the FSSC 22000 certification scheme developed by the
Foundation for Food Safety Certification.
5.4 ISO 9000 quality management series
ISO developed the ISO 9000 standard series, covering different aspects of quality
assurance management to meet differing sector needs, not only the processed food
sector. ISO 9000 is a guidance document and ISO 9001, 9002 and 9003 describe
distinct quality system models of varying stringency for use in different applications.
ISO 9000 does not itself set specific standards for products, nor is it limited to
processed fruits, vegetables and nuts; it is designed to ensure that producers have in
place a management system that will enable them to maintain any product standard
they choose to implement. ISO 9000 is not required by government legislation;
however, more and more buyers internationally are demanding that suppliers are
ISO 9000 compliant.
5.5 Accreditation and certification
A certificate of compliance to a certain standard is a requirement of many importers
in foreign countries. This certificate must be issued by an accredited international
certification body that must validate systems, products and personnel against
the required standards. In South Africa, the South African National Accreditation
System (SANAS) is recognised as the single national accreditation authority and
has established mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) with South Africa’s
major trading partners. This means that certificates issued by SANAS-accredited
certification companies are recognised and accepted in those countries with which
SANAS has an MRA in place. Chapter 10 gives details of training organisations that
specialise in HACCP, BRC, ISO 22000 and ISO 9000 training and certify compliance.