INTO SOUTH AFRICA                        


1.    Directorate of Veterinary Services (Department of Agriculture)


Applications to import animals and animal products (including heat-treated meat products) from individual countries are evaluated in accordance with the Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act No 35 of 1984), international standards and other requirements.




Processed products from EU countries are usually accepted if imported from plants/establishments approved for export to other EU member countries, provided the process is sufficient to inactivate any agent (e.g. virus) that could be transmitted through the meat.


Veterinary Import Permit


No animal or animal product (including samples) may be imported without obtaining a veterinary import permit from this Directorate. The importer must be in possession of the veterinary import permit before the consignment departs from the country of origin. Import permits for animal products (e.g. meat) imported for commercial purposes are only issued to companies residing in South Africa or an agent in South Africa appointed by an international company. (The reason being the difficulty of initiating legal proceedings against foreign individuals or companies.)


Import requirements vary according to product and the animal health situation in individual countries.


It is not advisable to enter into any agreement before you have received a veterinary import permit for a particular product - especially, if you are importing it for the first time.


Obtaining an Import Permit


Please ensure that the correct application form is completed.


Please supply the inner core temperature and dwell time for the products when you apply for an import permit. A short description of the process would also be helpful. This will enable the permit office and the responsible veterinarian to decide which requirements should be stipulated on the import permit.


The State Veterinarian (Port Elizabeth) must first approve applications to import meat or meat products through Port Elizabeth. Dr Ian Burnand or Dr Beverly Zietsman can be contacted at tel no 041 585 8907 or fax no 041 585 4953.


Applications for veterinary import permits will not be processed unless a payment of R110 per permit has been received.


Please indicate whether the import permit must be mailed to you or whether it will be collected at the permit office.


Completed application forms must be returned to:



Postal address:

Physical address:

The Director Veterinary Services

Import / Export (Permit Office)

Private Bag X138



The Permit Office, Room G61

Delpen Building

c/o Annie Botha and Union Avenue



Fax No:

012 329 8292

International Fax No:

+27 12 329 8292


Application forms and information concerning the payment can be obtained from the permit office at tel no 012 319 7514 or -7414.


Ship Chandelling and In Transit Consignments


Ship chandelling and in transit movement of animals and animal products are regarded as importation, unless the consignment does not leave international ground and departs within a couple of hours. If the products are in transit through the Republic of South Africa, a copy of the veterinary import permit from the country of final destination must be submitted with the application for a South African veterinary in transit permit.


Veterinary Health Certificate


A veterinary health certificate, which is in compliance with the conditions stipulated by the South African veterinary import permit, must be obtained from the veterinary authorities in the country of origin before the product is shipped. Imports via third countries are generally not accepted.


Ports of Entry


The veterinary import permit and the veterinary health certificate must be presented to the relevant authorities at the port of entry. Only original documents will be accepted. Meat must be inspected at one of following inspection sites stipulated on the import permit:



tel no

031 337 4346/7

Cape Town:

tel no

021 551 2050

Johannesburg Airport

tel no

011 973 2827

Port Elizabeth (special permission):

tel no

041 585 8907


2.    Department of Health (Directorate Food Control)

Website: Department of Health: Food Control.

Act on Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants, 1972 (Act No 54of 1972)

The National Directorate of Food Control in Pretoria sets the standards, which the port health officials of the provincial governments enforce, at all the ports of entry (the major ports being Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg Airport. Please note that there are a number of other ports of entry, the contact details are available on the DoH webpage)

This Directorate does not issue import permits for meat products.

Contact persons:

·          Ms P T Campbell

Tel 012 312 0159 or

Fax 012 312 3180

·          Director Mr. AWJ Pretorius

Tel 012 312 0185/6

Fax 012 312 3180


·        Act on Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants, 1972 (Act No 54 of 1972)


·        The National Directorate of Food Control in Pretoria sets the standards, which the port health officials of the provincial governments enforce, at the ports of entry (Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg Airport)


·        This Directorate does not issue import permits for meat products.


·        Contact person:



Mr AWJ Pretorius


012 312 0159




012 326 4374

·        Director



Dr. Theo van de Venter


012 312 0185/6




012 326 4374

3.    Port Health


Monitoring of imported food consignments (excluding fresh/raw meat) at ports of entry


South African health officials, commonly called “Port Health Officers” may decide to detain products after carrying out a physical inspection.



Contact details:










+27 (0) 11 613 5522




+27 (0) 11 613 3103






Cape Town


+27 (0) 21 21 1124




+27 (0) 21 945 1244








+27 (0) 31 337 2736/7




+27 (0) 31 337 2738



4.    South African Bureau of Standards




In terms of the Standards Act (Act 29 of 1993) the Department of Food and Associated Industries of the SA Bureau of Standards is responsible for the administration of the following compulsory standard specifications:


-           Canned Fish, Canned Fish Products and Canned Marine Molluscs


-           Canned Crustaceans


-           Canned Meat Products


-           Frozen Fish, Frozen Marine Molluscs, and Frozen Fish and Frozen Marine Mollusc Products


-           Frozen Rock Lobster Products


-           Frozen Shrimps (Prawns), Langoustines and Crabs


-           Smoked Snoek


These Standards are administered on behalf of the Minister of Trade and Industry and are applicable to both locally produced and imported products.


These compulsory specifications are aimed at ensuring the health and safety of the consumer.  The SABS also protects the interests of the Republic in foreign markets by ensuring that locally manufactured products intended for export are of acceptable quality.  As far as practicably possible the relevant Codex Standards and Codes of Practice are used as a basis for these compulsory standards.


The inspection system in terms of the compulsory standards is based on the presence of resident inspectors in and around factories during production period.  Inspectors are strategically placed throughout South Africa.  These food inspectors are generally qualified food technologists working in conjunction with food scientists.  The food inspectors have to ensure that the factories are kept in an acceptable structural condition, and that a high standard of hygiene is maintained.  In addition they must also monitor the quality of the raw materials used in the preparation and manufacturing procedures, which include critical aspects such as seam closure and cooking process for canned products, and the freezing time/temperature relationship and storage temperatures for frozen products.  The inspector forwards all the relevant information to the Head Office in Pretoria or relevant Regional Offices, and in the case of canned products together with check samples, where the final decisions are taken as to the fate of the batches, after completion of all applicable physical, chemical and microbiological tests.


On account of our regulatory function as well as our expertise in the fisheries domain the SABS was nominated by the relevant local government authorities as the competent inspection body for the certification of fishery products to the European Union (EU).


Representatives from the EU visited the SABS and the fishing industry in 1995 to determine our competency as an inspection/certification body and whether the relevant controls and standards laid down in the South African fishing industry are equivalent to those applicable in the EU.


Following the inspection visit of our laboratories and factories the SABS has been approved by the Commission of the European Union as the competent authority for the certification of fishery products to the EU.






The mission of the Department are to render a services to:


1.         Protect the consumer and in so doing create an awareness of the Department’s activities.


2.         Ensure compliance to food and associated regulations.


3.         Assist role players to comply with local and international requirements.


4.         Make available the Department’s expertise to other units to add value and to further the overall mission of the SABS.


The Division administers the following Compulsory Specifications:


-           Canned Fish, Canned Fish Products and Canned Marine Mollusks


-           Canned Crustaceans


-           Canned Meat Products


-           Frozen Fish, Frozen Marine Mollusks, and Frozen Fish and Frozen Marine Mollusk Products


-           Frozen Rock Lobster Products


-           Frozen Shrimps (Prawns), Langoustines and Crabs


-           Smoked Snoek


NOTE:  These Specifications apply to both local and imported products.


In administering these Specifications the Department offers expertise in the following fields:


<        Food Technology


            -           specifically canning and freezing technology


<        Management systems


            -           including HACCP and Process Control


<        Inspection Services


            -           inspection and evaluation of factories


            -           physical examination of products


            -           sensorical evaluation of food products


            -           evaluation of labelling


            -           appointed as the competent inspection body by international authorities such as the EU


<        Food Standards


            -           technical assistance and advice given with writing of national standards


            -           serve on various international committees including Codes


            -           interpretation of international standards




<        Includes Food Scientists and Technologists


<        Strategically placed throughout SA and Namibia


For further information please contact us.


Pretoria:                          The Manager Food and Associated Industries:

                                         Gideon Joubert

                                         Tel:  (+27 12) 428-6086

                                         Fax:  (+27 12) 428-6466

                                         E-Mail:  JOUBERGJ@SABS.CO.ZA


Cape Town:                    Pieter Truter

                                         Tel:  (+27 21) 689-5511

                                         Fax:  (+27 21) 689-6128

                                         E-Mail:  TRUTERPJ@SABS.CO.ZA


                                         Mike Young

                                         Tel:  (+27 21) 689-5511

                                         Fax:  (+27 21) 689-6128

                                         E-Mail:  YOUNGMI@SABS.CO.ZA


Durban:                           Clive Britton

                                         Tel:  (+27 31) 28-9181

                                         Fax:  (+27 31) 28-0519

                                         E-Mail:  BRITTONCM%DURBAN.SABS@MAIL.SABS.CO.ZA


Port Elizabeth:                                   Heinrich Grobler

                                                            Tel:  (+27 41) 33-7748

                                                            Fax:  (+27 41) 33-2281

                                                            E-Mail:  GROBLEHC@SABS.CO.ZA


Namibia:  Walvis Bay:                      Johan Heydenrych

                                                            Tel:  (+264 64) 20-2430

                                                            Fax:  (+264 64) 20-3868