Improving South Africa’s food security

Source: Unathi Mhlatyana, Bizcommunity, 21 April 2021, photo credit: US Wheat Associates

South Africa ranked 69 out of 113 countries in the recently released 2020 Global Food Security Index (GFSI) report after being ranked two places higher last year. The country’s top score was 72.4% for food quality and safety, followed by affordability at 63.1%, availability at 49.5% and the lowest score at 49% for natural resources and resilience.

Positively, South Africa ranked number one out of the sub-Saharan countries when it came to the quality and safety of food. This is incredibly important to McCain with its food being harvested locally at its peak and then snap-frozen within hours to maintain freshness and lock in nutrients.

Although freezing is a safe way of preventing bacterial growth and enzyme activity, there are still challenges that need to be addressed in the industry to ensure the utmost food safety and quality. One hurdle is temperature abuse, which happens when there are breaks in the cold chain resulting in the product undergoing cycles of defrosting and refreezing, leading to quality deterioration and in extreme abuse, mouldy products.

To produce safe food products, robust food safety programmes that ensure compliance with physical, chemical and microbiological factors are vital. Along with this, it is essential to establish temperature abuse projects to understand, detect and mitigate the risks related to this. Optical sorting and defect detection equipment can also identify foreign material and remove it from the product.
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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.