South Africa
1.2 South Africa Regulatory Departments and Quality Control

South African Revenue Services (SARS) is the revenue service (tax-collecting agency) of the South African government, reporting to the Minister of Finance. Its main functions are to - collect and administer all national taxes, duties and levies; collect revenue that may be imposed under any other legislation, as agreed on between SARS and an organ of state or institution entitled to the revenue; provide protection against the illegal importation and exportation of goods; facilitate trade; and advise the Minister of Finance on all revenue matters.

The Department of Health sets policy for regulations and standards on various aspects for the safeguarding of South African life including food and medical supplies. Setting and standards of testing are maintained via the South Africa Bureau of Standards and relevant code(s) assigned within a regulatory framework.

The Department of Minerals and Energy sets policy for regulations and standards of various types and grades of fuel (for both hydrocarbon and biofuels) in South Africa. Setting and standards of testing are maintained via the South Africa Bureau of Standards and relevant code(s) assigned within a regulatory framework.

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is a South African statutory body, as the national standardization authority, the SABS is responsible for maintaining South Africa's database of more than 6,500 national standards. Internationally, SABS experts represent South Africa's interests in the development of international standards, through their engagement with bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). South Africa has a long and proud history of involvement with these bodies and was a founder member of ISO. To improve its service offerings and responsiveness to customer needs, the SABS also restructured its commercial services into seven industry clusters, namely : Chemicals, Electro-technical, Food & Health, Mechanical & Materials, Mining & Minerals, Services and Transportation.

In South Africa all the activities with GMOs are primarily regulated under the Genetically Modified Organisms Amendment Act 23 of 2006 (GMO Act) along with its subsidiary legislation. These activities include research. Development,  import, export, transport, use and application of upon obtaining an authorization from the Department of Agriculture. Then, under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and 2008 (Act No. 68 of 2008) Regulations (R.293 of 2011) , in the case, where the foodstuff is containing at least 5% GMOs, the product must be labelled with the statement ‘Contains Genetically Modified Organisms’ and whereas a product has less than 5% GMOs, it is voluntary to include the statement ‘Contains <5% GMO.’ Moreover, The requirement for making the claim ‘Does not contain GMO’ or ‘GMO free’ is that the product must be tested and found to contain <1% GMOs.

For more information on regulatory departments and quality control laboratories’ contact details, please see the following links: 4.1 Government Contact List and 4.3 Laboratory and Quality Testing Company Contact List.


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