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South Africa’s waste generation continues to increase; significant volumes of waste are still being diverted to landfill, a dead-end disp...

Newly published EPR regulation

12 November 2020
South Africa’s waste generation continues to increase; significant volumes of waste are still being diverted to landfill, a dead-end disposal of waste rather than the desired approach of a
circular economy . If we are to protect our environment’s natural resources and develop green economies, producers of products will be required to take responsibility for their products throughout the product life cycle, from raw material extraction through product design and use, and ultimately, recovery and recycling or re-use. The Regulations Regarding Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) (R.1184) were published on 5 November 2020, under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (NEMWA) (Act 59 of 2008). The Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme for Paper, Packaging and Some Single-Use Products (R.1187) was also published. The primary intention of the regulation and the scheme used together is to extend the financial and physical responsibility for a product to the ‘producer’ of that product, which importantly includes the post-consumer stage (waste disposal). The purpose of the EPR Regulations is: “to provide the framework for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of extended producer responsibility schemes by producers, to ensure the effective and efficient management of the identified end-of-life products and to encourage and enable the implementation of the circular economy initiatives.” This Regulation refers to the term ‘producer’, meaning “any person or category of persons or a brand owner who is engaged in the commercial manufacture, conversion refurbishment or import of new and/or used products as identified by the minister”. It is important for all members throughout the product life cycle to identify their roles and ascertain whether they fall within the definition of ‘producers’, as this may affect their responsibilities and what compliance is required. The EPR Regulation (R.1184) requires that existing producers must register with The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) within six months of the publishing of the regulation. All new producers must register within three months of the publishing of the regulation by completing the prescribed form, obtainable from the Department. The regulations go on to stipulate that the Department must consider and issue a number for each producer within 30 days of receipt of the form. Regulation 1184 details specific minimum requirements for EPR schemes. The Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme for Paper, Packaging and Some Single-Use Products (R.1187) will have a particular impact on the ‘producer’ in the context of the food industry. This scheme includes targets for each identified product waste stream; these are defined for each class of products. Classes include paper, plastic, biodegradable and compostable, glass, metal, and single-use packaging. The EPR Regulation (R.1184) goes on to stipulate that failure to comply with various provisions is an offence, which may on conviction lead to an “appropriate fine”, imprisonment for a period of 15 years, or both. It is advisable to ascertain whether you or your company could be defined as a ‘producer’; and if so, to prioritise understanding the intention of the regulation and what the obligatory requirements are for the responsible stakeholders. No doubt additional resources will be required to abide by these new regulations. Focusing on the common goal of supporting the environment, by recognising that EPR is a component that underpins the overall strategic approach of waste minimisation and a circular economy in South Africa, may well assist the transitional process. If you would like more information on this topic, please contact us.
Whole sage leaves (dried or fresh) are not commonly or easily adulterated, as there is likely to be an obvious visual difference which th...

Is your sage safe?

12 November 2020
Whole sage leaves (dried or fresh) are not commonly or easily adulterated, as there is likely to be an obvious visual difference which the consumer could easily identify. However, sage in a finer form (ground/powdered) presents a significant adulteration risk.   A recent UK-based study found that over 25% of sage samples were heavily adulterated (
click here to read more). Sage may be adulterated with cheaper alternative plant material such as olive leaves, strawberry-tree leaves, myrtle leaves or hazelnut leaves. Dried herbs may be adulterated with cheaper bulking agents, to achieve higher profit margins for pricier herbs. In South Africa, the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act (Act 54 of 1972), Regulations governing microbiological standards for foodstuffs and related matters, as amended (R692 of 1997) prohibits the sale, manufacture or import for sale of any dried herb product that has been adulterated so as to increase the mass or volume of such foodstuff with the aim of deceiving the consumer. Furthermore, the Consumer Protection Act (Act 68 of 2008) sets out consumers’ rights to safe, high-quality goods. Therefore, routine screenings should form an important part of the sage supply chain to ensure compliance with these Acts, and to action timely corrective measures should a batch be compromised. The microscopic or histological investigation of herb products can successfully detect a range of sage adulterants, based on the distinctive morphological properties of sage. The typical microscopic features of sage are tangled masses of long hairs that may be smooth or warty, with dark centres and fibrovascular bundles (Figure 1). These fibrovascular bundles have split or shredded ends and oil glands, as pictured in Figures 2 and 3 below.


Although sage adulteration is not believed to be harmful or hazardous to the consumer’s health, adulterants may impart an unpleasant taste to the product. We offer a range of herb and spice authentication services. To view our testing catalogue, click here  or contact us for more information
Labels are honest, right? Surely, we can trust what’s on them?! All too often, our scepticism is justified by the articles we see in the ...

Black Pepper Adulteration

12 November 2020
Labels are honest, right? Surely, we can trust what’s on them?! All too often, our scepticism is justified by the articles we see in the news. And no wonder; it’s estimated that about a fourth of the world’s food supply is adulterated – and black pepper is no exception. When a substance or non-food item is added to a food to increase the quantity of that food, this is known as adulteration. Whether the adulteration is intentional or unintentional/accidental, it reduces the quality of the food, and may pose health risks to the consumer. Adulteration commonly occurs as a result of economic fraud, carelessness, lack of proper hygiene or malicious food tampering. However, the most common incentive is so that the food can be more competitive on the market, by lowering costs and generating higher profits. Pepper has been named the world’s most important spice – popular for its distinctive taste, aroma and versatility. At one time worth its weight in gold, pepper now accounts for around 35% of the total world spice trade. Because of its economic value, black pepper has been shown to be susceptible to food fraud. Papaya seeds are often used as an adulterant for black pepper, due to their high availability, low cost and morphological similarities (in both whole and powdered form). But although papaya seed and black peppercorns appear nearly identical to the naked eye, microscopic techniques have proved useful for discriminating between these two commodities. The typical microscopic feature of black pepper is a continuous inner cell layer that can be seen when the peppercorn is dissected. This is unlike the papaya seed, which has a crenellated or wavy inner cell layer.

Under the microscope

Microscopic techniques have proved useful for screening – not only of whole black peppercorns, but of coarsely and finely ground black pepper too. Black pepper has brown exocarp tissue, blue-grey endosperm tissue, and stone cells that are angular and oblong in shape. These features can be used for identification purposes when screening a sample. Additionally, an acid test can be performed to check for defatted black pepper. Pure black pepper should ‘bleed’ a red colour when an acid reagent is applied, while this is not true for defatted black pepper. Coffee-bean skins, millet, ground-up stones, black pepper husk and defatted spent material are other substances reported to be used as adulterants of black pepper. These too can be identified with microscopy. The microscopic or histological investigation of black pepper and other spices early in the processing cycle can provide the producer with valuable information, assisting in the actioning of timely corrective measures should an adulterated ingredient be detected. FACTS offers an array of detection tests for herb and spice adulteration. If you’re interested in testing the purity of your black pepper, please
contact us.

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