South Africa water pollution a risk for exporters
South Africa water pollution is putting the export of fruit and vegetables to the European Union at risk of an outright ban, according to preliminary conclusions of a report commissioned by the country’s Water Research Commission.
Local news site Times Live quoted the conclusions, saying that if the level of pollution is high enough that it could face action from the EU, which is known for its strict parameters for food quality.
"If it comes to light that we have this kind of problem, (fruit exporting farmers) face a serious problem," Chris van Zyl, general manager of the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU).
The study was commissioned by the WRC to look into the link between the quality of water used for irrigation on farms and food safety. The analysis was carried out by the departments of food science at the universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Venda.
Water quality has been an issue for some time. In May TAU and the National Water Forum (NWF) filed suit against the ministers of water affairs, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry and environment for their failure to clamp down on big industries polluting South Africa's water resources, the report said.
Gareth Lloyd-Jones of Ecowise said the deteriorating quality of South Africa’s water supplies could have a strong impact on food safety if local producers and retailers do not introduce measures to safeguard the quality of their water.
"Producers may need to invest in purification measures and processes in order to minimize the risks to food safety caused by waterborne diseases," he said.