The Consumer Goods Council SA (CGCSA) has pointed out that the new regulation, R146, makes provision for religious endorsements, whether in the form of a logo, text, pictorial or otherwise, but that the costs form part of the labelling process.
This was in response to the news that a religious group was taking the South African government to court over its regulations, allowing for religious logos on food packaging.
"R146 does not prescribe how such endorsements should be managed. The latter remains the prerogative of the religious endorsing body," says Ronél Burger, head of the Food Safety Initiative at the CGCSA.
The costs associated with religious endorsements would be absorbed by the manufacturer via their general overheads; often in the budget allocated for marketing. Many suppliers have various religious endorsements on their packaging and the reality is that endorsement costs are generally considered insignificant per unit of product.
"In this instance, where the religious endorsement remains as is and does not serve as a reason for any label changes, it would not contribute to an increase in the food price. As these religious logos have been carried on the food packaging material for years, there are no new costs that will be passed on to the consumer.
"Since R146 allows for non-exclusive religious endorsement, any religious body is in a position to design their own logos and follow the endorsement process."
Labelling is an expensive process from designing label templates to printing, therefore when products are re-formulated and consequently reanalysed; it necessitates the designing and printing of new labels.
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