Submission on Regulations Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs

The AIDS Law Project (ALP) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) focus much of their work on ensuring that full and meaningful effect is given to the Bill of Rights recognition that “[e]veryone has the right to have access to … health care services” and that the “state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realization” of this right.

Integral to the realisation of this right, as well as the state’s positive obligations in this regard, is to ensure that the public is afforded the opportunity to make educated and informed decisions about their own health, particularly insofar as this relates to a healthy diet. In part, this means ensuring the public is reasonably protected from false or misleading labels and/or advertisements which could potentially endanger their health.

With this in mind, the purpose of this submission is therefore to assist the Department of Health (DoH) in discharging its constitutional obligations in this regard. In particular, the primary aim of this submission is to assist the DoH in fine-tuning the draft Regulations Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (“the draft regulations”) so that, in their final published form, they serve as an effective tool to enforce appropriate labelling and advertising, are able to withstand constitutional scrutiny, and allow the people of South Africa to make informed, evidence-based decisions about their nutrition and diet.

In this submission, we consider the following issues:

  • Insufficiency and/or lack of several definitions (draft regulation 1);
  • A minor technical concern in the general provisions (draft regulation 2);
  • Prohibited statements (draft regulation 14);
  • Small packages (draft regulation 35);
  • Procedures for the approval of health claims (draft regulation 61 and guidelines 13 and 14);
  • Reduction of disease risk claims (draft regulation 62);
  • Enteral foods (draft guideline 14); and
  • The provisions dealing with penalties.

Regulations Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs – 2007 – TAC ALP.pdf