Consumer News


Be Aware of the Dark Side of Cooldrinks

Soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable, unnecessary cancer risk. Sonia Mountford from Grass has been waiting since January 2013 for a commitment by Coca Cola South Africa to align their use of the carcinogenic substance 4-MEI to that of the United States. Megan Power managed to get a timeline from them. See the full story here….

NSPCA Discovers Yet More Cruelty

A routine inspection of the GWK Abattoir and feedlot in De Aar in the Northern Cape by NSPCA Senior Inspector Grace Le Lange, uncovered yet more cruelty and farm animal welfare issues. This time the ill-treatment of lambs and sheep

Woolworths Manipulating GM Semantics Yet Again?

Grass asks Woolworths to Commit to More Ethical Dairy Farming Practices

Follow Up to this story: Has anyone noticed, no organic milk available at Woolworths?


Coke falls flat in terms of health

Why is Coca-Cola sponsoring sporting events in South Africa?

Healthwashing & How to Avoid Being Healthwashed

Healthwashing is a term used to describe the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the crusade forward to good health while engaging in practices that may be contributing to our poor health

Woolworths: manipulating math or semantic science?

Food labelling and pushing the boundaries.

Diet Soda Concerns

How they are addictive, keeping you fat and linked to risk of diabetes.

Woolworths & GMO Labelling

Correspondence with Woolworths on GMO labelling or lack thereof since 2012 – see here.

African Centre for Biosafety Press Release

on latest products tested – see here.

Woolworths Proclaims Eggs Success

We ask if this should be applauded since Woolworths made a statement in April 2004 committing to only selling free-range eggs in their stores. It has taken them nine years to achieve 70% of what they stated had been achieved in 2004.

 “From now on, no Woolworths laying hen will ever have lived or spent any of her life in a cage,” Woolworths CEO, Simon Susman, proclaimed at the time.

The news was announced in stores with big signs that read: “Free as a bird. We are the first retailer in South Africa to sell only free-range eggs. We think our hens enjoy having space to behave like hens should.”

see here for more on the truth behind this statement

Update on Meat Scandal Investigation

The meat scandal began in late 2012, with the publication of the results of a University of Stellenbosch study of 130 processed meat samples, which revealed that a shocking percentage contained meat species other than that which was revealed on the labels of the minced meat, burger patties, deli meats and sausages.

Stellenbosch University researcher Professor Louw Hoffman said that cross-contamination – the transfer of one type of meat to another through chopping boards, saws, hands and utensils – played a definite role in his findings. Also that in many cases it might be small percentages that are the result of cross-contamination, but in others it might be “substantial”.

The study was published in the international Food Control journal, and was done by Dr Donna-Maree Cawthorn and Prof. Louw Hoffman of the Stellenbosch University Department of Animal Sciences, in conjunction with Harris Steinman of the Food & Allergy Consulting & Testing Services (F.A.C.T.S) in Milnerton.

“Our study confirms that the mislabelling of processed meats is commonplace in South Africa and not only violates food labelling regulations, but also poses economic, religious, ethical and health impacts,” says Prof. Louw Hoffman of the Department of Animal Sciences.

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) announced at the time its intention to conduct its own investigation.

Recently the NCC said its tight budget meant that it only had enough money for one project a year, and that its meat-labelling investigation had cost about R1.4 million. Consumer Commissioner Ebrahim Mohamed said the investigation report was “almost complete” and would be sent to the minister when it was complete. He told Wendy Knowler, “I cannot comment on the findings and recommendations at this stage, and  “the bulk of the costs incurred were attributed to travel of several officials crisscrossing the country to interview stakeholders in the meat industry. I do not have a breakdown of the costs, but will provide it when I have it.”

Link to study abstract here:  A high incidence of species substitution and mislabelling detected in meat products sold in South Africa

Extracts taken from original article by Wendy Knowler for Daily News (see here.… ) 

Does anyone know where you can buy a bottle of free range milk?  

by a Concerned Consumer

Does anyone know where you can buy a bottle of free-range milk these days?  By that I mean milk from cows that roam freely outdoors, grazing on pasture all day, as cows naturally do, rather than living in barns, standing knee deep in their own manure, and fed GMO feed.

The Role of the Retailer in the farm strikes by Farmer Angus

The retailer’s greatest pressure is to sustain profitability and if you really want to own its shares then it must continue to grow earnings. The easiest way to do this is to squeeze the suppliers. Lets take the example of milk. A certain retailer pays the farmer R2.50 per litre for the milk and then sells it at R10.00 for that same litre. If the farmer is lucky he gets paid 30 days after statement but that is more likely to be either 60 or 90 days. (Walmart/Massmart being the exception paying every 14 days). I am not trying to trivialise the work of the retailer. However the farmer has taken the risk to produce the milk. He has had to keep the animals healthy, make sure they are fed, his staff are on time every day of the year to do the milking, his cows conceive, his dairy is kept hygienic, once milked that the milk stays chilled until the retailers truck arrives to cart it away yet he only gets ¼ of the price the consumer pays and he has to wait a minimum of 30 days from the statement at month end before he gets money that the retailer received the moment the customer paid for the milk.

In no one’s definition is that farming for the future.

A farmer very near me received R6 per kg for beans last week that the supermarket sells on for R25 per kg.

Why does our government not insist on transparency in the food chain?

see original story here
3 comments on “Consumer News
  1. segercrantz says:

    I was researching online information for my proposed blog: ‘Consumer Awareness’,
    subtitled, ‘Raising Consumer Awareness To Subtle Marketing Ploys’ !, but you guys
    are already doing a fabulous job, exposing dishonest, underhand, and downright
    illegal, marketing practices.

    My aim, as an independent social worker, who previously worked as a trainee buyer,
    for Rapro – ‘Rationalisation Programme’ – the purchasing arm of the gigantic Toyota
    Group, was to empower my clients to become savvy shoppers.

    Yours truly

    Mrs Ruth Katz Segercrantz
    MA Soc Sci (cum laude) UJ, 1992


    • GRASS says:

      Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. Grass is always looking to grow, so if you would like to assist us then just let us know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • segercrantz says:

        I would love to assist : I grew up with parents who had lived through WWII, (and knew what it was like to do without).

        My mom NEVER threw anything away.

        She was decades ahead of the
        trendy : ‘Reduce, Recycle & Reuse’.

        She was also an enthusiastic ‘re-purposer’.


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