The outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa is a food horror of our profit-driven corporate food system, with limited state regulation.
The current corporate controlled food system is to blame for compromised health standards in South Africa, which has led to food horrors of not only Listeriosis, but also obesity, hunger, malnutrition, child stunting, and diabetes, to name a few.
Food horrors like these result when profit is prioritised over all else. When industrial food systems are situated far from the people, consumers are alienated from its processes and kept in the dark about its dangers. The private sector with profit as its main motive, claims that it has solutions to end food crises, but in actual fact, it is perpetuating the very crises that the poor and vulnerable face on a daily basis. The listeriosis outbreak, as well as ongoing hunger, hiking obesity and diabetes rates and contamination of our soils with pesticides, tell a story of the failure of the corporate food system to ensure adequate nutrition for all citizens, and the destruction of our natural environment.
Food horrors like these also result when the corporate controlled food system is given free reign in our country. The use of Genetically Modified Organism’s (GMOs) in our seed systems, including for staples like maize has also been done in a manner that compromises public health. The state has not ensured the public is informed about health risks. It has not used the precautionary principle to protect South African consumers from unscrupulous corporations. With listeriosis, the state took a long time to intervene on the outbreak. We will witness more and more horrors such as these as long as lax regulations fail to restrict the food industry’s harmful activities.
The South African Food Sovereignty Campaign (SAFSC) calls for greater state regulation based on our People’s Food Sovereignty Act. This Act calls for the democratic planning of our food system, increased state regulation on destructive practices of the corporate controlled food system, prioritising local food supply over trade, a ban on advertising of all junk food, and greater reliance on small-scale food producers to feed our citizens culturally appropriate and nutritious food.
We call for a government that promotes a food system that supports the nutritional and cultural needs of all people, rather than the profit-driven initiatives of the private sector which exist to benefit a few, and in doing so perpetuate these food horrors.
For more about The South African Food Sovereignty Campaign, refer to www.safsc.org.za
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