The National Consumer Commission (NCC) is investigating 100% apple juice concentrate supplier Elgin Fruit Juice.
The commission’s investigation follows the recent recall of 100% apple juice by Coca-Cola Beverages, Pioneer Foods and Woolworths.
According to acting National Consumer Commissioner Thezi Mabuza, the NCC has reasonable grounds to believe that Elgin Fruit Juice supplied unsafe goods that pose a potential risk to the public.
LiquiFruit products are distributed in South Africa, as well as in Botswana and Namibia, while Ceres products are exported to 25 countries.
Last week, the public were told to return their 100% apple juice products after lab results revealed the juices contained elevated patulin levels.
Patulin is a toxic compound that is naturally produced by certain types of mould. Patulin is mainly used in fruits and fruit juices across Europe and North America, according to ScienceDirect.
Patulin is used as a stabilising unit used in apple and grape juices, and it is a potential threat to humans and livestock.
Consuming patulin exceeding 50 parts per billion (50 microgram/kg) may lead to vomiting, nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Mabuza said its investigation would help the commission understand the nature, causes, extent and degree of risk.
“The Consumer Protection Act [CPA] emphasises that every consumer has a right to receive goods that are safe and of good quality,” said Mabuza.
If the investigation reveals that Elgin Fruit Juice contravened the provisions of the CPA, the commission will refer the matter to the National Consumer Tribunal.
Elgin could receive an administrative fine of 10% of their total annual turnover or up to R1,000,000.
“The purpose and policy of the CPA amongst others are to promote fair business practices while protecting consumers and ensuring that consumers enjoy their right to safe and good quality goods. We will not allow a situation where the health of consumers is compromised,” she concluded.
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney