The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has suspended with immediate effect the serving of canned pilchards processed by West Point as part of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) menu across all schools in the country.
The decision is informed by a recent call made by The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS). This follows the outcome of the NRCS investigation which revealed a deficiency in the canning process. The affected products were manufactured in 2019 with a batch number marked on the cans as ZST29 and ZSC29. The products have been distributed nationally to various formal wholesalers, retailers and informal traders. These should be removed and returned to the shops for a refund.
The Department is therefore requesting the service providers and schools to look out for the batch numbers in the following 400g Pilchards in Tomato Sauce and 400g Pilchards in Chilli Sauce and return them with immediate effect. Below are the affected brands:
- West Point
- Checkers housebrand
- Shoprite housebrand
- Spar housebrand
- Ok housebrand
- Cape Point
- U brand
- Prime Ocean
Following this announcement, the DBE has instructed all provinces to communicate with their respective suppliers to stop supplying these products as part the NSNP menu with immediate effect.
As canned fish is a common item consumed in all of our schools which offer the NSNP to more than 9.2 million learners every school day, the Department has advised provinces as follows:
- Check all pilchards stock against the above list and batch numbers starting with ZST29 and ZSC29 as mentioned in the official communication from the NRCS.
To date the Department is pleased that no challenges have been encountered and provinces will be supported as we continue to monitor the situation.
The Director for NSNP at the DBE, Ms Neo Sediti said the Department was working in collaboration with all role players and provinces to ensure that food items used in the administration of the NSNP are firstly of a good quality and secondly of a high nutritional standard. “To date the Department has not yet received any negative reports from provinces; we are, at this stage, trying to proactively stay ahead of any potential challenges and protect the profile, credibility and integrity of the NSNP,’’ added Sediti.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) would like to reassure parents, learners and members of the public that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that no learner is compromised.
Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275 Head of Communication
Terence Khala - 081 758 1546 Media Liaison Officer