The big retail meat fraud

Upon reading the journal article on the fraudulent substitution of undeclared species in meat products, we find the matter much more serious than we first thought. It would be wise for people who are concerned about your health to immediately stop buying the following products from all the main retailers (Pick 'n Pay, Spar, Shoprite Checkers and Woolworths):

- mince meat products

- burger patties

- deli meats

-raw sausage

-biltong (dried meats).

1. In all of these products, the one undeclared additive that occurs most often is pork; [52% of the sausage; 38% of the mince, 32% of the deli meats, 30% of the burger patties, 10% of the biltong]

2. Even in pork and turkey products there is the presence of beef [probably low quality unmarketable beef];

3. For these meat products that do not list allergens, there has been found the presence of soya and gluten; thus persons thinking they are buying products that are allergen free, are at serious risk. 90% of all the fatal allergic reactions has been caused by among others, soya and gluten.

4. The presence of donkey meat is not to be taken lightly- it is not a product that goes through the strict health procedures at the abattoirs. Thus the killing of the donkeys and the preparation of the meat must have been done under unsanitary conditions. Even a small amount poses a health risk. Don’t be fooled- sometimes even ‘quality beef sausage’ is the one that contains the donkey meat.

5. The cynicism of the large retailers is shown by the greater incidence of fraud in contaminated meat in the Eastern Cape and KZN, where the masses are more impoverished than in other areas. 90% of the samples from these regions contained contaminated meat.

6. The US-imperialist-backed Chinese wave has also not left the meat industry untouched. The Asian water buffalo has been imported, most likely from China and used as a cheap substitute in beef products. Who knows where and how these buffalo were killed, most probably in unsanitary conditions. As the major retailers were responsible for the Chinese slave imports in the clothing sector, it would be safe to assume that these are the same culprits now, again. In any event, they need to be openly investigated. 

7. Springbok biltong was found to be Blesbok.

Here we see the fraudulent nature of capitalism- it is inherently corrupt. When capitalists are selling something, they will deliberately exaggerate the properties of the product, giving it glowing, almost magical properties, but when buying from one, they will deliberately fault-find so they can make the maximum profit.

A proposed way forward

1.       All products containing donkey and water buffalo meat should be seized and destroyed due to the health risk;

2.       All meat products of the main retailers should be labelled as contaminated and possibly containing allergens, possibly containing pork and other undeclared substances- with this proviso they should be sold off at a fraction of the declared price, if not given away.

3.       There should be mass protests at the main retailers, calling for them to be expropriated without compensation and placed under workers control- for the immediate lowering of the price of all meat products. The biggest farming sector is that of livestock- here we see the fraud of the commercial farmers claiming they cannot afford better wages for farm workers when they are the biggest frauds, working in collaboration with the major retailers. For the immediate expropriation of all commercial farms, without compensation, to be placed under workers control.

4.       For the immediate lowering of the price of meat;

5.       Open the books of the commercial farmers and retailers to trace who is responsible for the meat fraud and the levels of profit made out of this.

6.       Open the books of the mines to investigate the trillions taken out over the past 40 years through mislabelling by Anglo American and others. For the seizure of the mines, without compensation, to be placed under workers control. [it was reported that in 2007 alone about 20% of GDP was taken out of the country by the mining corporates through mislabelling of minerals; SARS is well aware of this fraud but deliberately overlook it]

Workers International Vanguard Party

28.2.2013  email ph 0822020617


1.       A high incidence of species substitution and mislabelling detected in meat products sold in South Africa. Cawthorn, Steinman and Hoffman, Food Control 32 (2013) 440-449.

2.       Amnesty International? The nature, scale and impact of capital flight from South Africa. Ashman, Fine and Newman, Journal of Southern African studies, (2011), 37:01, 7-25.