Food Safety and Quality Assurance


About us


Our purpose is to regulate the quality and food safety of certain agricultural products in terms of Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act No. 119 of 1990), and to control the production, sale, import and export of certain alcoholic products in terms of the Liquor Products Act, 1989 (Act 60 of 1989) and for matters connected therewith. 


Mr Billy Makhafola
Director: Food Safety and Quality Assurance
Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

Tel: 012 319 6321/6535
Cell phone: 072 198 9278







The mission of the Sub-directorate Agricultural Product Quality Assurance is to standardise quality norms for agricultural and related products by establishing the criteria for such norms and distributing the information to all interested parties. These criteria may include the quality, packaging, marking and labelling as well as the chemical composition and microbiological contaminants of the products. These norms are validated by publication in the Government Gazette under the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act No. 119 of 1990). The norms are based on the specific needs of the South African market and are usually harmonised with international standards.


Standardisation is an objective approach towards establishing effective and practical quality norms. The advantages of standardisation are that product classification and/or grading encourages consumer confidence and brings about greater market transparency. The trade is able to purchase specified quality products over time and distance, which eliminates the need for the inspection of each lot or consignment. Similarly, the consumer can expect a product of consistent quality when purchasing a specific grade or class. In this way a situation is created on local markets where South African products can compete on an equal footing with overseas products and can also be marketed more competitively. It is important to note that imported products must conform to the same standards as those set for locally produced products.

Aim of the regulations

The aim of the regulations administered by this Sub-directorate is thus to, through correctly applied quality standards, provide the consumer with products of consistent quality. The criteria used depend on the type of product. The colour of an apple, the purity of a fruit juice, the composition of cheese, the ingredients of a canned product and the fat content of a carcass are just a few examples of the quality factors. Classification and grading may be based on a number of measurable factors which are considered together.

Marking requirements

Prescribed marking requirements in the regulations are used to provide the consumer with accurate and relevant information on a product, so as to allow an informed and personal choice to be made. For example, less obvious characteristics are described by the use of specific terms, e.g. full-fat yoghurt vs. low-fat yoghurt, class A meat (tender) vs. class B or C meat (less tender), pure orange juice (min. 90% juice) vs. orange nectar (min. 50% juice), orange drink (min. 6% juice) or flavoured orange drink (less than 6% juice) and real vinegar vs. imitation vinegar (acetic acid).


The Directorate appoints assignees to undertake inspections at the point of sale, manufacture, packing or export to ensure that the set standards and requirements are maintained and that the benefits of classification, grading and marking reach the consumer. The following assignees are currently appointed:

Documents related to assignees functions (Click here)

Standards Operating Procedure - Risk Profiling

  1. The Perishable Products Export Control Board: ( for all agricultural products intended for export)
    Contacts: Head Office
    Tel +27 21 930 1134
    Fax +27 21 939 6868
    45 Silwerboom Avenue, Plattekloof, 7500
  2. Local Market inspections assignees:
    South African Meat Industry Company (SAMIC)
    Responsible for meat classification (Cattle, sheep, goats and pigs)

    Appointment of meat (Click here)
    Contacts (Click here)

    Product Control for Agriculture (PROKON)
    Responsible for:
    Potatoes and Fresh fruit and vegetables:  Fruits: Apples, Apricots, avocados, bananas, citrus, litchis, pears, plums and prunes, peaches and nectarines, pineapples, table grapes, other unspecified fruits for which regulations may be promulgated Vegetables:  Garlic, onions and shallots, tomatoes, vegetables (Artichokes, asparagus, aubergines/egg plant, beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, butternuts, cabbages, carrots, capsicums/sweet peppers, cauliflower, celery, chillies, chinese cabbage, courgettes/baby marrows, cucumber, endives, fennel, gem squash, ginger, green beans, green onions, green peas, horse radish, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, parsley, parsnips, pumpkins, radish, rhubarb, scorzonera, spinach, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, turnips, witloof/ chicory, unspecified vegetables)

    Appointment for potatoes (Click here)
    Appointment for fruit and vegetables (Click here)
    Contacts (Click here)

    Agency for Food Safety (AFS/Q)
    Responsible for:
    Regulated animal products, (poultry meat, eggs, processed meat as well as any other meat and meat products for which regulations may be promulgated)

    Appointment of assignees Notice no 7 of 2017 (Click here)
    Contacts (Click here)

    Leaf Services
    Not active yet.
    Responsible for:
    Grain and grain products: Canola, dry beans, groundnuts, maize, maize products, malting barley, rice, sorghum, soya beans, sunflower seeds, wheat (bread wheat, soft wheat, and durum wheat), wheat products as well as other grains and grain products for which regulations may be promulgated

    Appointment of assignees Notice no 345 of 2016(Click here)


Revoked Assignees



Manager: National Analytical Services:

Ms Xoliswa Tlali

Tel: (021) 809 1643
Fax: (021) 887 0036



The Chemical Residue laboratories in Pretoria and Stellenbosch render an analytical service in the monitoring of pesticide residue on the following:

(a) Fruit

(b) Vegetables

(c) Tea

(d) Wine

(e) Grains

The fruit-, vegetable- and tea samples that are received come mainly from consignments that are destined for the export market and sampled by the Perishable Products Exporting Control Board (PPECB). Some samples come from the Agricultural Products Inspection Services (APIS) and the Department of Health and are drawn at local markets and shops.

Wine samples are screened on request from exporters and also screened daily to monitor locally produced wines from different areas. APIS also submit unfermented grape juice and raw wines from cellars to monitor organic classified wines.


All commodities have different spray programs for the protection against pests. These commodities are analysed for pesticide residues using Gas- and Liquid Chromatographs. The results are reported in milligram residue per kilogram of fruit, expressed as .

Each commodity has its own range of pesticide specifications. This differs from country to country.

The Chemical Residue Laboratory only report results and does not decide if a consignment is rejected or accepted.



 Analytical Services (South) is mandated in terms of the Liquor Products Act 60 of 1989 to perform various analytical laboratory services pertaining to Liquor Products, that are presented for export, import and national trade control and as part of the departmental responsibility in ensuring the safety & quality of these products. The Wine & Spirit Laboratory tests for compositional characteristics in liquor products to ensure compliance to the Liquor Products Act. The Wine & Spirits laboratory works in conjuction with the Divisions: Liquor Products, APIS and SAWIS for the certification of the Wine of Origin Scheme.


The following tests are performed:

  • Alcohol determination using pycnometer method
  • Reducing sugar content determination using skalar auto analyzer which is based on segmented flow analysis.
  • Volatile acidity determination using skalar auto analyzer
  • Total acidity & pH determination using a Mettler autotitrator.
  • Total sugar content using Fehlings A method.
  • Sulphur dioxide content using a Flow Injection analyzer and Aspiration method which is the reference
  • Gas pressure tests are performed on sparkling and perle wines.

Products analysed are the following:

  • Wine
  • Spirits
  • Sparkling wines
  • Perle wines & Fortified wine
  • Port & Sherry.
  • Grape juice
  • Spirit Aperitif
  • Spirit Coolers & Ciders
  • Fortified apple and fortified pear beverages
  • Reduced wine based drinks




The Additives laboratory is mandated to analyze mostly liquor products for a range of regulated and illegal additives in accordance with the stipulations of the Liquor Products Act (Act 60, 1989). The activities of the Additives laboratory may be divided into routine and non-routine tests. Routine tests include:

  • Determination of legal additives and regulated substances in liquor product. D
  • Determination of Sorbic acid in export wines (HPLC).
  • Ochratoxin A in local and export wines (HPLC).
  • Artificial sweeteners in local products (HPLC).
  • Methanol, Acetone and higher alcohols in local and exported wines and spirits (GC).
  • Lead in export wines (AAS).
  • Butterfat in cream liqueurs (Gravimetry).


Non-routine tests performed are of a periodic nature and mostly involve projects that are identified by Division: Liquor Products and other role-players in the Agricultural sector. These activities include:

  • Determination of the authenticity of South African Sauvignon blanc wines (LC-MS),
  • Occurrence of Ethyl Carbamate in South African wines and spirits (LC-MS),
  • Occurrence of Natamycin in South African export wines to the EU (LC-MS),
  • Determination of Terramycin in South African honey (LC-MS),
  • Determination of Melamine in animal feed and agricultural fertilizer (HPLC),
  • Determination of drugs of abuse in South African wines (LC-MS),
  • Determination of the Sodium/Chloride ratio and levels of bromine in South African wines
  • The Microbiology laboratory serves the Rooibos tea industry exclusively. Three tests are performed on export Rooibos tea
  • Determination of Salmonella,
  • E-coli and Total bacterial count.


For more information about FSQA please open the links below: