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South African Food Labelling Regulations

Summary of R146 of 1 March 2010): Reference: South African Government Gazette No. 9236, Vol 537, 1 March 2010, No. 32975

The number of samples required for submission to a testing laboratory must be as follows:

  • For products of relatively homogenous compositions, e.g. pasta, chips, cheese, etc., a minimum of 3 samples from different production batches.
  • For products of non-homogeneous compositions, e.g. mixed vegetables, ready to eat meals, cakes, etc., a minimum of 12 samples from different production batches.

The independent laboratory will test the composite sample of the 3 products/samples (or 12 products/samples) for its nutritional values.

New Food Labelling Regulations (summary of R146 of 1 March 2010):

Reference: South African Government Gazette No. 9236, Vol 537, 1 March 2010, No. 32975

The minimum mandatory major Nutritional data to be printed on the product packaging is:

  1. Energy Value in kiloJoules;
  2. Protein in grams;
  3. Glycaemic carbohydrates in grams: Of which Total Sugars: specify amount;
  4. Total Fat in grams: Of which Saturated Fat: specify amount;
  5. Dietary Fibre in grams;
  6. Total Sodium (as Na) in milligrams.

The label must state the values per 100 gram (g), or per 100 milliliter (ml) and per serving size.

The number of samples required for submission to a testing laboratory must be as follows:

  • For products of relatively homogenous compositions, e.g. pasta, chips, cheese, etc., a minimum of 3 samples from different production batches.
  • For products of non-homogeneous compositions, e.g. mixed vegetables, ready to eat meals, cakes, etc., a minimum of 12 samples from different production batches.

The independent laboratory will test the composite sample of the 3 products/samples (or 12 products/samples) for the above nutritional information.
Please contact us, as below, should you require further information.

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Heavy Metals in Foodstuffs

Article by Meschach Soonpall of Chem-Science Laboratories

Heavy metals is a broadly used term in the food industry which directly relates to quality control, but very little is known about its true definition. Heavy metals are chemical elements which have a specific gravity (density) that is five times that of water. These metals, which are toxic at high levels, enter foodstuffs through the food chain.

Unlike other toxic chemicals that are present in nature, heavy metals do not biodegrade. This means that heavy metals bioaccumulate in the environment. Bioaccumulation means an increase in the concentration of these metals in a biological organism over time, compared to the metal concentration in the natural environment. Common causes of bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the environment are due to anthropogenic (man made) sources. Four common heavy metals found in contaminated foodstuffs are as follows:

  • Arsenic (As, Specific Gravity of 5.7); may be released into the environment by the smelting process of copper, zinc, and lead, as well as by the manufacturing of chemicals and glasses. Arsenic can also occur in foods through water which runs through rock minerals and soil.
  • Lead (Pb, Specific Gravity of 11.3); It is a very soft metal and enters the environment through pipes, drains, batteries and soldering materials from many industries in South Africa. Lead poisoning also known as plumbism is mainly reported in the mining and paint industry.
  • Mercury (Hg, Specific Gravity of 13.5); Mercury is released into the environment from mining processes, chemical and petroleum industries. It is known to accumulate in marine life from various discharges into the sea.
  • Cadmium (Cd, Specific Gravity of 8.7); Cadmium is released in the environment from the waste of batteries, the mining processes, inferior quality motor oils, and electroplating.

In some cases heavy metals are not referred in a negative connotation. Iron, Copper, and Zinc are some of the beneficial metals to human health if taken in trace quantities. These beneficial heavy metals are found naturally in foodstuffs and may not be due to external contamination. Some products such as butter, bread, and flour are fortified with metals, for example lead and calcium, to improve human health. The continuous exposure of our natural resources to heavy metal contamination results in poor food quality and extreme health effects. The only form of reducing the occurrence of heavy metal contamination in foods is internal quality control or alternatively outsourcing your food products to a consulting laboratory like ours which is much more cost effective and safe guards the consumers who uses your products.

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A Pocket Databook

Lab Manual

A laboratory pocket manual for laboratory technicians and scientists containing everyday lab data. Over 70 Tables of handy information such as temperature scales, ppm and concentration units, mass units, volume conversions, formulae for cleaning labware, filter paper conversions, hydrometers, alcohol tables, density of substances, test sieves, hardness scale, flash points, explosive limits, spectra, heat temperatures, drying agents, SI prefixes, humidity solutions, freezing mixtures, preparation lab reagents, glossary science terms, solvents for UV spectrophotometry, ionic conductance values, indicator solutions, vacuum and pressure units, metric units and lots more info for the busy laboratory worker.

A laboratory pocket manual for laboratory technicians and scientists containing everyday lab data. Over 70 Tables of handy information such as temperature scales, ppm and concentration units, mass units, volume conversions, formulae for cleaning labware, filter paper conversions, hydrometers, alcohol tables, density of substances, test sieves, hardness scale, flash points, explosive limits, spectra, heat temperatures, drying agents, SI prefixes, humidity solutions, freezing mixtures, preparation lab reagents, glossary science terms, solvents for UV spectrophotometry, ionic conductance values, indicator solutions, vacuum and pressure units, metric units and lots more info for the busy laboratory worker.

Order copies online at: Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Or, to order a copy, write to:

  • Italic Publishers
  • P.O.Box 4618
  • Durban 4000
  • South Affrica
Or, send email request to: info@chemsciencelaboratories.com    

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A Skills Training Manual in Basic Chemical Laboratory Techniques
Training Manual

An excellent self-help book and reference guide!

The training manual will assist any laboratory worker who has not had the opportunities to obtain formal education and training in simple laboratory procedures. Its intended use is bridging-the-gap from school to employment. Sections of the manual can also be used as a ready reference source.There are many Exercises at the end of the Lessons. Answers are supplied.

Some of the Lessons covered are:

  • How to take a sample;
  • Correct use of chemical reagent bottles;
  • How to use basic laboratory equipment;
  • How to take accurate temperature, conductivity and pH readings;
  • Correct filtration procedures;
  • Use of hydrometers;
  • How to do titrations;
  • Data interpretation.
  • And many more useful laboratory techniques are discussed.

Order copies online at: Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Or, to order a copy, write to:

  • Italic Publishers
  • P.O.Box 4618
  • Durban 4000
  • South Affrica
Or, send email request to: info@chemsciencelaboratories.com