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16 hours ago

Self-regulation of junk food marketing largely ineffective

In other news: The Pope is Catholic.

1 day ago

Slabattoirs under scrutiny - Informal slaughter houses in Cape Town

The story below is on the IOL site at the moment. The SPCA is concerned about animal cruelty. This is a concern, but I am worried that we are falling back into regulation without enabling. Our work has repeatedly shown how important traders like these are to local food security and how they serve local tastes, prices and preferences. 

Back in 2008 IOL ran a similar story in which the former head of the Maitland abattoir, which the City shut down, said "unregistered slaughter houses were a health hazard and should be closed down.

"They are totally unacceptable. They operate with no health inspectors, no veterinary control and the animals are treated with cruelty."

He said they had the potential to cause an epidemic.

Carroll said that farmers often took their sickly or lower-quality stock to these informal slaughter houses if they knew they wouldn’t be passed at a legitimate abattoir.”“ 

At the time Ivan Toms, the then exec director for health,they were aware of the unregistered abattoirs and that at least two had been operating for more than 20 years.

He said his department, together with the department of agriculture, city land use and planning and the SPCA, were looking at coming up with a more “accommodating approach”.

"We won’t just close them down. We don’t want a draconian solution but we also won’t turn a blind eye."

Toms said they were working with the owners and educating them about what to do with things like blood and offal. He added that the facilities were in areas which had septic tanks so the blood didn’t go into the sewage system.” (Link)

This is the kind of thinking that is required. Acknowledge the role that these play in the food system, particularly in the absence of a formal abattoir (which is constitutionally a municipal responsibility), and find ways to ensure their safety and continued operation.

"Cape Town - Sithndathu Avenue may be its official name, but the Nyanga street has become popularly known as Ezigusheni (at the sheep’s) owing to its open-air slaughterhouse.

The livestock is brought from a Philippi farm to the makeshift market in trailers with their feet tied. Others are shoved in car boots.

At the market the sheep are put on the pavement, where “slabattoirs” - a term given to the local butchers - do the slaughtering.

On average about 15 sheep are slaughtered for each one of the 22 meat stalls where customers can buy raw or braai meat.

Stall owner Mildred Maqibi said she had been operating her meat-selling business for more than 23 years.

She said stall owners were trying to make ends meet but the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was making it difficult for them.

“We are victims of the SPCA.”

A few months ago five of her sheep were confiscated by the organisation because the animals’ feet were tied together.

“I didn’t have a business for those days until they released the sheep back to me.”

Cape of Good Hope SPCA chief executive Allan Perrins said the SPCA was against the inhumane slaughter and treatment of the animals.

“We are particularly concerned about the lack of animal holding facilities and the fact that live animals are forced to witness animals being slaughtered. We are also concerned about the manner in which the animals are transported. The problem is far more complex than meets the eye as there are multiple roleplayers, starting with the farmer/seller.”

Perrins said street slabattoires were breaking the Animals Protection Act and the Meat Safety Act, as well as breaking various health and environment by-laws

”There is an obvious health risk associated with this unregulated practise. It would be desirable to regularise affairs and this may mean having to close down street-side slabattoirs.”

Mayoral committee member for health, Benedicta van Minnen, said the city’s health department and the Department of Agriculture were looking at using mobile abattoirs at Ezigusheni in Nyanga.

“While the feasibility study is being conducted, environmental health practitioners do routine health education sessions with the traders and slaughterers, as well as ensure basic hygiene standards are maintained.”

Maqibi said stall owners were open to hygiene suggestions.

“We are also not happy with the filth. We have been pleading with the government to renovate this place to a point that we are willing to pay rent, if need be.”

Maqibi’s stall slaughterer, Sivuyile Mahlati, said he feared losing his job.

“We want to keep this as clean as possible, but we also don’t want to lose our jobs.”

Slaughterers are paid R70 per sheep slaughtered.

To keep the skin clean and safe from insects, salt is thrown over it. Every Fridays the wool is collected by a man who buys it from the stall owners for clothing manufacturing.

Regular customer Kwezi Sonti said he enjoyed the fresh meat.

“I love this meat because it’s fresh and I witness its slaughtering. You see us cultural men, we love that.”

1 week ago

Let them eat vleis - Noakes - IOL Lifestyle |

Not a fan of everything Noakes says, but he is bang on about the need to eat fifth quarter.

1 week ago

Individual diet changes can't fix the global food system

"When the moral history of the 21st century comes to be written, I predict we will look back with horror at how the word choice became a sort of cuckoo in the nest, driving out all other values. This week, in an editorial, the BMJ decided that patient choice now trumps the Hippocratic oath. The moral language of the supermarket has become the only moral currency that is accepted. Which is why, for me, assisted dying is the final triumph of market capitalism: we have become consumers in everything, even when it comes to life and death. And as history demonstrates, the losers in this equation are always going to be the most vulnerable."

1 week ago

Kuils River farmers slam police

This sounds like the problems experienced by the farmers on the PHA

"Several irate Kuils River farmers have expressed their anger at the lack of visible policing, especially around farms.

The group gathered at the local police station on Tuesday night to express their frustration as crime in the area increases.

The meeting was called following two farm robberies.

About 30 farmers voiced their frustration at the lack of support they receive from local police, claiming there isn’t any visible policing and reports of theft and robberies are being ignored.

A vegetable farmer says he’s stopped reporting vandalism and theft of equipment, as police take hours to arrive.

He complained that his irrigation system is being destroyed weekly as thieves want to get their hands on metal pipes.

The group also indicated second hand shops and scrap yards need to be scrutinised for reportedly buying stolen goods.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)”

2 weeks ago
"Children are being bombarded with scenes of unhealthy eating on TV, in programmes which “unrealistically” portray slim, healthy characters consuming high levels of fatty, sugary and salty foods, health experts have warned."

Children bombarded with unhealthy eating messages on TV, experts warn
2 weeks ago

Protecting the rights of informal traders pamphlet.

Great brochure by SERI.

2 weeks ago

Consumers face triple price-rise whammy - Western Cape | IOL News |

The triple whammy of increased train prices, electricity prices and fuel prices is likely to force more capetonians into food insecurity

"Neil Roets, chief executive of debt management firm Debt Rescue, said the increases could lead to many more South Africans falling into the debt trap.

He said rising food and fuel costs and slow economic growth made it it difficult for many South Africans to pay back their loans on time.

“The writing is on the wall for many middle-class families who have only recently escaped from dire poverty. Many will be pushed back into poverty,” Roets said.”

We have seen many people borrowing from micro lenders who charge exorbitant rates. The offering of food on credit by informal traders is likely to be an essential lifeline.

3 weeks ago

'Land grabbing' could help feed at least 300 million people, study suggests

It might be worth reading this report. My immediate knee jerk reaction is to dismiss this, as I disagree on principle. However, one has to read material and arguments before dismissing. What does their data look like? What assumptions do they make? Who funded the research?

University of Cape Town
South Africa