The South African government's Department of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries ("DAFF") has passed new
Regulations relating to the Classification, Packing and
Marking of Dairy Products and Imitation Dairy Products Intended for
Sale in the Republic of South Africa ("R260")
which will repeal the current Dairy Products and Imitation
Dairy Products Regulations ("R2581") when it
comes into effect on 27 March 2016.
The new R260 sees a host of new classifications
for dairy products being introduced, including drinking yoghurt and
custard. The fat content of dairy and imitation dairy products has
also been reviewed. Dairy products that would previously have been
classified as being "low fat" will, under the new law
have to be classified as "medium fat" and, in order for a
dairy product to qualify as "low fat," the labelling for
that product must show the fat content to be less than 1.5% (as
opposed to the current requirement of a fat content of between 1.5%
The Government claims that these new amendments bring the
regulations in line with international standards as set out in the
The new R260 sees stricter marking requirements
for dairy and imitation dairy products, with an ingredients'
list being mandatory, the use of "best by/ use by/ sell
by" dates, and batch code indicators being compulsory
information to be displayed on the container of a dairy product.
The new compulsory information must appear in the manner as
prescribed in the primary food labelling and advertising law, the
Labelling and Advertising Regulations under the Foodstuffs,
Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act of 1972. There is a clear
collaboration between DAFF and the Department of Health, who
enforces the provisions of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and
For years, the debate regarding the appropriate use of the word
"fresh" in relation to milk has been ongoing, with the
only guidance to producers being taken from the Labelling
and Advertising Regulations. R260 now makes it clear that
the word "fresh" may only be used in relation to
pasteurised, ultra pasteurised, unpasteurised and/or raw milk, and
pasteurised and unpasteurised cream. The word is not defined any
further, which is not helpful to understanding how the term may be
used in relation to those milk varieties or any other dairy
products that fall under the regulation.
Under the current Regulations, a trade mark (registered or
unregistered) may appear on the container of a dairy product in a
font size that is larger than the prescribed font size of the class
designation (for example: low fat cheese spread) of that product.
The new R260 will ensure that dairy manufacturers
may only use their trade marks in a font size that is larger than
the font size of the class designation, on the containers of their
dairy products, if those trade marks are registered.
Staying with intellectual property issues, both the current and
future Regulations prohibit the use of any word, mark, illustration
or depiction that constitutes a misrepresentation directly, or
indirectly, regarding the quality, nature, class, origin or
composition of a dairy product. However, the current Regulations
are slightly more lenient, allowing the use of words such as
"natural," "super" and "extra" or any
other words which suggest that the dairy product is of a special or
particular quality, only if the word or expression is part of a
trade mark. The new R260 eliminates this
exception, prohibiting, outright, the use of words such as
"natural," "super" and "extra,"
"pure" or "fine" or any other words which
suggest that the dairy product is of a special or particular
quality. This has far reaching consequences for dairy product
manufacturers, who incorporate words such as "super" and
"extra" into the names of their products usually as part
of their trade marks. In addition, R260 states
that no registered trade mark or brand name which may possibly,
directly or by implication, be misleading or create a false
impression as to the contents of a container that contains a dairy
product shall appear on that container. It is not clear what this
prohibition would cover. What is clear, is that if producers adhere
to these restrictive provisions embodied in R260,
they are, effectively, being deprived of their legitimate
intellectual property rights.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Emirate of Dubai has followed its neighbour Abu Dhabi and introduced a compulsory health insurance for any person staying in Dubai - a new piece of legislation that you have probably already heard about.
President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to the UK on Monday 8 June 2016 for a 10-day holiday according to official statements. However, his seemingly impromptu absence from key engagements as well as the emergence of a communique...
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).