Sign In

Food and Associated Industries Overview

The inspection system of the Food & Associated Industries Business Unit (FAI) is based on monitoring and surveillance of factories, processes, and products.

FAI also conducts market surveillance inspections and participates actively in the Border enforcement activities of the NRCS.

FAI assists role players to comply with local and international requirements and is recognized by Authorities in various countries, such as China, Russia, and the EU, as the competent authority for the inspection and issue of health guarantees of fish or fishery products destined for Europe.

FAI is an internationally accredited inspection body and fully complies with SANS/ISO 17020 General Criteria for the Operation of Various Types of Bodies Performing Inspection. It has a panel of highly trained and technically competent inspectors, some of whom are ​expert members of international food inspection bodies.

FAI works in close co-operation with other regulators of food safety and inspectors are authorized to carry out inspections on behalf of the Department of Health in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act. FAI participates actively in national and international food safety activities including those of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This is necessary because South Africa is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and South African food regulatory authorities are obliged to ensure compliance with the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreements.

The Business Unit has entered into a number of international technical co-operation agreements and inspection standards are continuously benchmarked against other national and international inspection systems and world best practices.

FAI is responsible for the processing and sampling of aqua-culture products in co-operation with other Government roleplayers, hence supporting the Ocean Economy as iterated in Operation Phakisa.​

The​​​ Unit is also the leading Regulator for the administration and enforcement of the Compulsory specification for processed meat products that cover the local production, exports, and imports. The products, systems, processes, and factories are continuously monitored to ensure their safety.

Approval and Inspection​


The Business Unit applies the farm to fork principle by conducting product, facility, market surveillance (shops, wholesalers, and retailers) and process inspections on a monitoring and random basis. After sampling, product inspections are done physically at the factories or at an inspection laboratory at the NRCS where it is checked against local and international requirements. Visual product inspections are also conducted in the markets and during verification inspections. Normal physical factory inspections are done where the hygiene, construction, production processes, and systems are checked to determine compliance with the Compulsory specifications. Due to Covid-19, the Unit has implemented remote inspections where factories are inspected electronically. In certain cases, a combination of physical and electronic inspections of factories are conducted. Fishing vessels, cold stores, ice plants and product offloading sites are all inspected to support the farm to fork principle. Port of entry container inspections are also conducted in line with the Border Enforcement Strategy and when other government departments mandate the NRCS even if there are no Compulsory Specifications associated with the inspection.


The Business Unit issues approvals on local and imported products as well as for exported products. It is also a requirement that factories are pre-approved when various documents and evidence related to the factory are provided. Approval of imported and exported products is based both on compliance with administrative requirements and physical and verification inspections. Health Guarantees are furnished for exported products, certificates of compliance for imported products, and approval certificates for factories that cover both the local products and the facilities where it is produced. Substandard products not complying with the Compulsory Specification may only be marketed with a Sales permit with strict conditions and products and facilities that are non-compliant are subjected to a sanctioning process.

List of VC's OF Regualted Products

VC# Title Download
VC 8020.pdf Compulsory specification for frozen rock lobster and frozen lobster products derived therefrom Download
VC 9104.pdf Compulsory specification for live lobsters Download
VC 8031.pdf Compulsory specification for frozen shrimps (prawns), langoustines and crabs Download
VC 8014.pdf Compulsory specification for the manufacture, production, processing and treatment of canned fish, canned marine molluscs and canned crustaceans Download
VC 9107.pdf Compulsory specification for aquacultured live and chilled raw bivalve molluscs Download
VC 9001.pdf Compulsory specification for live aquacultured abalone Download
VC 8017.pdf Compulsory specification for frozen fish, frozen marine molluscs and frozen products derived therefrom Download
VC 8021.pdf Compulsory specification for smoked snoek Download
VC 8019-2019.pdf Compulsory specification for the manufacture, production, processing and treatment of canned meat products Download
VC 9100.pdf Compulsory specification for processed meat products Download

LOA and Application FORMS

Title Download

Database of Approved Products

Title​​ Download

Frequently Asked Questions​

Certain organisms associated with Snoek, under certain conditions excrete very active enzymes that dissolve the protein chains of the flesh and when the fish is cooked, the flesh becomes very soft and broken up.​
The fish is safe to eat and won’t harm consumers. Unfortunately, this condition is not always obvious in the uncooked fish.
In a similar manner, canned pilchards may also become very brittle inside the can.

The blackening can be attributed to a process called melanosis, which is a chemical reaction combining certain sugars, amino acids and certain spore elements, like iron and copper in the prawns into the melanin compound.
The process is prevented by the use of certain anti-oxidants, such as sulphur dioxide.​

Marine molluscs are known to accumulate certain marine biotoxins, excreted by certain
Dynoflaggelates and bacteria present in the seawater.
For this reason, only marine molluscs acquired from sources that are under the official control of Government bodies should be consumed. It is dangerous to consume molluscan shellfish acquired in any other way.​

Due to the low temperatures to which commercially frozen fish are subjected, these parasites are dead and cannot be transferred to consumers when eating such fish. However, it has been indicated that a particular type of parasite can cause some allergic reactions to consumers, but only when they are present in large quantities. Consumers are thus advised not to eat fish that are infested with large quantities of a wormy type of parasites.​


Title Download
FAI 2017 B Return Download
FAI 2018 B Return Download
FAI 2016 A Return Download
FAI 2018 A Return Download
FAI 2016 B Return Download
FAI 2019 A Return Download
FAI 2020 A Return Download
FAI 2021 A Return Download
FAI 2019 B Return Download
FAI 2017 A Return Download
FAI 2020 B Return Download


Meisie Katz
General Manager - Cape Town

: +27 (0) 21 526 3400
: + 27 (0) 21 526 ​3451

Andre de Wet

Manager: Inspection (Western Cape)

: +27 (0) 21 526 3400
: + 27 (0) 21 526 ​3451

Andrey Dreyer

Manager: Inspection (Western Cape)

: +27 (0) 21 526 3400
: + 27 (0) 21 526 ​3451

Kobus vd Merwe

Manager: Inspection (Gauteng)

: +27 (0) 12 482 8904

Lynette Thumbran

Manager: Inspection (Gauteng)

: +27 (0) 12 482 ​8896

Grant Hingle

Principal Inspector (Kwa-Zulu Natal)

: +27 (0) 31 203 2900
: + 27 (0) 31 203 2930

Nomfanelo Mazungula-Foster

Principal Inspector (Port Elizabeth)

: +27 (0) 41 391 8400
: + 27 (0) 41 391 8427​ ​​​