FoodFocus reported that “a Compulsory Specification for Processed Meat Products VC 9100 was published by the Minister of Trade and Industry as per Government Gazette No.42628 Notice No. 1058 of 08 August 2019. This Compulsory Specification became effective from 8 October 2019. The scope of the compulsory specification applies to the handling, preparation, processing, packaging, refrigeration, freezing, chilling, labeling, marking and storage of heat treated and ready to eat (RTE) processed meat products covered in the scope of SANS 885, processed meats products; and it includes the microbiological and food safety related compositional requirements of these products. The classes of processed meat products are identified as heat treated and ready to eat (RTE) categorized in the respective classes and unspecified RTE products listed in clause 5.3 of SANS 885:2011, which are as follows:
a) Whole muscle, cured, heat-treated products
b) Whole muscle, uncured, heat-treated or partial heat-treated and RTE products;
c) Comminuted, cured, heat-treated products;
d) Comminuted, uncured and heat treated products;
e) Reformed, cured, heat-treated;
f) Unspecified class i.e. Any other unspecified RTE processed meat products; and
g) RTE products which are not going to be cooked before consumption with the exclusion of dried and fermented processed meat products i.e. partially heat-treated products and RTE e.g. SALAMI.”
Caos in the Classess
In response to the confusion created through the classification system, Dr Mellett asks very basic questions. He writes:
“When T. Rex took a bite on the flesh of other animals, some 80 million years ago, what was in his mouth? Unfortunately, T. Rex and his cousins are extinct and we cannot interview them, but the general names given to them are meat eaters or flesh-eaters. We can observe the behaviour of modern-day meat-eating predators to answer the question. The list comprising flesh may be:
Hair or feathers
Nails and hooves
I think they ate all grades, young animals, not so young animals and mature animals, but they may have had a preference for certain grades.
I know for sure that they did not stuff any of the above in any of the natural carry bags, such as stomachs, bladders or intestinal tubes to carry home. That is a behavioural pattern of only one class of meat-eater: that is us.
80 million years ago, Codex Stan 192, better known as the General Standard for Food Additives was not in print yet. This is a well-organized document and covers much more than additives. It gives us all food groups, such as stuff that originates in the udders of mammals, to crops grown in a field. It includes meat.
I must deviate for a while. Those people who own cats will know that hair is not digestible by modern-day animals. Add to this list feathers and nails or hooves. These are digested in custom-built factories to render the amino acids for recycling or cosmetics. Furthermore, where the proteins in the larger bones were left for the ants, we also render these proteins to use in food.
Back to the subject. The list above can now be shortened by removal of hair, feathers and nails or hooves from the list. The rest is still flesh. Another name for flesh is meat.
When T. Rex ordered a salami and mushroom pizza, what did he get?
A grade flour
C grade tomato sauce
B grade cheese
A grade mushrooms
C grade salami?
So what grade is the T. Rex pizza? (2A + 1B + 2C)/5 is not defined and is exactly the reason why we use names for grades or classes to remove the temptation to do maths on names.
A Simpler Alternative
The better question to ask is whether it is sensible to grade the pizza? If it is bad, there will be no repeated sale. If it is good, you may have a repeated sale. If it is excellent and at the right price you have to get investors and build a factory quickly.
So, 80 million years later, do we attempt to say:
Meat products (Codex class 08), may contain selective other Codex classes (legumes, potatoes, flours of starchy stuff, to name a few. Or we may walk away from this attempt and say that food products may contain any foodstuffs and limited amounts of additives as listed in Codex. This brings me back to the T. Rex pizza, regarding the foodstuffs used to make it, the grades of those foodstuffs, and the grade of the end product. Does it matter? If it is bad it will not sell. However, it does matter whether it nourished him.
If we want to do our fellow citizens who are accountants, lawyers, bus drivers or teachers, a favour, let us focus on what we feed them. They eat to (enjoy and) satisfy their needs for protein, fats, energy, minerals, vitamins and micronutrients. Let us tell them how much protein meat products contain in a classification system. Let us also tell them quantitatively, QUID, what we used as protein sources. Simple. A, B or C, or GREEN, ORANGE, RED.
The final instruction in the computer program is STOP. It is logical enough that you may make foodstuffs from foodstuffs without a law to give you permission to do so. Right? If we really need to differentiate between “class”, let’s remain logical. Anyone would expect something more from a Class A potato than from a Class B or C potato.
A Simple Alternative – Illustrated
There is no need to complicate the issue. It is a matter of simple honesty and communicating to the consumer in a way that makes sense to everybody. By complicated legislation, we are confusing something that is very easy to understand namely what the food is, what is all contained in the recipe and how nutritious it is. If there is any confusion about this, please contact us.
Anyone with questions can leave a comment here or mail Francois at the mail address below.