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  • Dairy Standard AgencysGuide to Dairy Product Labelling

    in South Africa

  • This DSA project is statutory funded by Milk SA from levy income in terms of regulations issued by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act.

    The DSA is a non-profit organisation and its existence is a direct result of a strategic approach by the organised dairy industry (Milk SA, Sampro and MPO). The approach is aimed at increasing the market for milk and other dairy products, the improvement of international competitiveness of the SA dairy industry and the empowerment of previously disadvantaged people.

    The primary objective of the DSA is to promote the improvement of compliance with legal standards of milk and other dairy products in the interest of the industry and the consumer

    This is a free publication and is not for sale by any party, institution or organisation without prior arrangement and consent of the Dairy Standard Agency. Please report any irregularities in this regard to the DSA on tel no 012 665 4250.

  • Food labelling is a complex field, and its ramifications go beyond merely making information available to consumers examining food products on store shelves. For milk processors, dairy manufacturers and retailers, the label on a dairy product is a way of communicating product information to buyers easily and directly.For consumers, it is one of the primary means of differentiating between different products and brands, and making informed purchasing choices.


    it provides basic product information regarding class designation, composition, common name, list of ingredients, net quantity, best before date, country of origin, and name and address of manufacturer, distributor or importer;

    it provides health, safety and nutritional information. This includes instructions for safe storage and handling, nutritional information (e.g. details in the nutritional facts table regarding the quantity of fats, proteins, glycaemic carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals present per serving of stated size) and specific information for consumers following restricted diets;

    it acts as a vehicle for food marketing, promotion and advertising, in order to encourage sales (via label vignettes, promotional information and claims such as low fat, cholesterol-free, product of South Africa, no preservatives added, etc.).

    Regardless of which role a label plays, it must comply with the following principle: the information given must not be misleading. South African regulatory requirements are designed to protect consumers, while ensuring fair competition for the industry.

    In South Africa, dairy product labelling is subjected to a number of statutes and regulations. The responsibility for developing and administering food labelling requirements is shared and the enforcement of these laws is the responsibility of:

    Department of Health, Provincial Health Departments and Municipal Health Authorities The Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act 54 of 1972);



  • Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act 119 of 1990),

    Department of Trade and Industry - National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and the application of the relevant regulations in terms of the Trade Metrology Act, 1973 (Act 77 of 1973).

    Together, the above acts and their regulations form a complex regulatory framework that can be difficult to navigate and sometimes, whether intentionally or not, allows for some difficulties in interpretation.

    The purpose of this publication is to provide a user friendly and integrated way for the interpretation of the labelling requirements applicable to dairy products. This publication is by no means exhaustive and the content should therefore be treated as guidelines. Readers are advised to consult the applicable regulations, also referred to in the publication.

    Dairy product labelling in South Africa is an interesting, and also striking, example of the complexities facing an entire industry, and of the power relationships or diverging interests among government departments, dairy processors and distributors and food retailers. In a complex food market, balance among the stakeholders various needs is difficult to achieve, which explains why it often takes long to amend regulatory labelling measures.

    However in the midst of the expected dairy regulation amendments (regulations often only become effective 12 months following date of publication) it remains imperative that current legislation is adhered to. This publication is therefore intended to serve as a guideline in terms of the current applicable legislation and will only be amended once new regulations are implemented.

    It is our wish that this document will not only serve the interests of the dairy industry and consumer well, but also be used as an effective tool to protect the integrity of dairy products in South Africa.


  • IndexMilk Label Checklist Labels, Requirements, Checklist

    Yoghurt Label Checklist Labels, Requirements, Checklist

    Cream Label Checklist Labels, Requirements, Checklist

    Butter Label ChecklistLabels, Requirements, Checklist

    Amasi Label ChecklistLabels, Requirements, Checklist

    Feta Cheese Label ChecklistLabels, Requirements, Checklist

    Cheese Label ChecklistLabels, Requirements, Checklist

    Regulations & Standards

    p. 4-7

    p. 8-11

    p. 12-15

    p. 16-19

    p. 20-23

    p. 24-27

    p. 28-31

    p. 32-37






    Milk LabelMandatory Information















  • Milk Label ChecklistMandatory Information1. PRODUCT NAMEMin 4mm in height. Reference: R146: Reg 8. Applicable class designation to be used in accordance with Table 1. No word must be bigger than the class, unless it is a trademark. Reference: R2581: Reg 16 & 17

    2. DESCRIPTOR of the biggest letter of name; placed in immediate proximity of Product Name. Letters to be same size, font, colour, etc. Reference: R146: Reg 8 (c)

    3. ADDITION TO CLASS DESIGNATIONInclude the term Pasteurized, Sterilized or UHT. If untreated, include the term Unpasteurized or Raw.Preceded by the name of the specie of the animal if milk of an animal other than a cow is used.Reference: R2581: Reg 17 (3,4 & 5)

    4. STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS & CONDITIONSBefore and after opening instructions to be included. Min 3mm in height, bold font, uppercase letters.Reference: R146: Reg 9 (e)

    5. QUANTITY/NET CONTENTSIncluded in SI units, bold font and prescribed letter size (Trade Metrology Act, 1973). Expressed in volume according to SANS (Table E.1, Item 19 d 1) Reference: R146: Reg 9 (f); SANS289

    UNITS OF MEASUREMENTS & SYMBOLSTo be used in accordance with South African National Standard: Annex A, Table A1. Reference: SANS289

    6. NAME OF PACKER & ADDRESSInitial and surname or trade name of packer preceded by Manufactured by or Packed by . Where product is manufactured. If packed on behalf of a person, those particulars need be used, preceded by Manufactured for or Packed for. Min 1mm in height. Reference: R2581: Reg 19 (1) & (4), R146: Reg 9 (b)

    7. USAGE INSTRUCTIONSMin 1mm in height, where applicable. Reference: R146: Reg 9(c)

    8. COUNTRY OF ORIGINProduct of (country) if all main ingredients, etc are from one specific country. Produced in -, Manufactured in -, Made in (country) when product is processed in second country. Packed in (country) may be used additionally. R146: Reg 10 (a,b & c)

    9. BATCH IDENTIFICATIONProduct to be clearly marked with batch number to make it easily identifiable and traceable.Reference: R146: Reg 11; R2581: Reg 20.

    DATE MARKINGClearly indicated on label. Date preceded by best before and/or sell by. Abbreviations not permitted except BB for best before. Preceded words in full. Date to appear on packaging that will be retained by consumer until consumption. Date to appear in order: Day-Month-Year, when only numbers are used. Month is written out in full or abbreviated and year is written out in full. Reference: R146: Reg 12 (1,2,4 & 5)

    Mandatory Information: RequirementsY N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N

    Y N


  • Milk Label Checklist10. LIST OF INGREDIENTSMin 1mm in height; First letter may be capital letter. Descending order of inclusion under heading Ingredients. Reference: R146: Reg 8 (d)

    COMMON ALLERGENSIf the allergen is self-explanatory, the name of the allergen should not be in brackets.Reference: R146: Reg 43 (1)(a)

    ALLERGENSTo be indicated in close proximity to ingredient list in a block or list with words: Contains: allergen/s.Reference: R146: Reg 43 (1)(b)

    UNCOMMON ALLERGENSMust be disclosed on request. Goats milk must be labelled in the same manner as for common allergens (Reg 43). Reference: R146: Reg 44 (2)

    11. NUTRITIONAL INFORMATIONMandatory for claims, always in the prescribed format. Reference: R146: Annexure 2 Must contain the heading Typical Nutritional