Big changes for chips, cereals, sodas and other popular snack foods

Big changes for chips, cereals, sodas and other popular snack foods in South Africa. The Department of Health has taken another step towards making sweeping changes to food labelling in South Africa, including warnings signs on unhealthy foods

The department has gazetted (14 April 2023) proposed changes to the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, opening the Regulations Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs for public comment.The proposed changes reinforce many rules already in place for product packaging in South Africa, such as ingredient lists and sell-by dates, but also introduce a host of changes for more modern changes in food advertising.

Most notably, as part of the changes, the department wants food items that are high in sugar and fat content to come with large warning labels attached – and to block these foods from being marketed to children.

The department wants mandatory front-of-package labelling (FOPL) to be present on any pre-packaged foodstuffs that contain added saturated fat, added sugar, added sodium and which exceed the nutrient cut-off values for total sugar, total sodium or total saturated fatty acids.

The cut-offs are:

Total sugar(s)

Solids: >10.0g per 100g

Liquids: >5.0g per 100 ml

Total Saturated fatty acids

Solids: >4.0g per 100 g

Liquids: >3.0g per 100 ml

Total Sodium

Solids: >400mg per 100 g

Liquids: >100mg per 100 ml

A similar label must be in place for any item that uses artificial sweeteners. The FOPL must be clearly visible and, insofar as possible, be integrated into the packaging. The FOPL may not be partially or completely covered by any other element, the department said.

The relevant foodstuffs must display such logos on the front of the package – and they will have to cover 25% of the front of the package. The department said that product sellers also cannot try to avoid the labels by shrinking them deliberately to diminish their visibility.


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