South Africa Wants Court to Dismiss Poultry Group Brine-Cap Halt

  • Nation wants to cap brine in frozen-chicken pieces to 15%
  • Country sells about 800 million tons of brined chicken a year

South Africa’s Agriculture Ministry and others asked a court to dismiss the Poultry Association’s application to prevent the introduction of regulations that will cap the amount of brine allowed in chicken.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries wants to limit the amount of fat and salt solutions, injected into chicken pieces a process known as brining, to 15 percent starting Oct. 22, which the South African Poultry Association is opposing in court, Business Day newspaper said Sept. 7, citing SAPA.

The ministry, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, the National Consumer Union and two companies say there is “no basis” for SAPA’s application and that it should be dismissed with costs, answering papers with the Pretoria High Court show.

About 800 million metric tons of brined frozen-chicken pieces are sold annually in South Africa, and a quarter of this “is nothing more than water,” the parties said in the papers. “Unregulated brining has, to use common parlance, led to daylight robbery,” and has “undermined the integrity of South African chicken and South African frozen chicken-piece industry. The regulation of brining therefore serves a legitimate governmental purpose.”

Companies that are affected include RCL Foods Ltd., South Africa’s largest chicken producer, as well as Astral Foods Ltd., the nation’s largest producer of frozen chicken pieces. Astral has started reducing the amount of the solution in its poultry portions to 15 percent.

The poultry association didn’t answer calls for comment.