The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) has condemned the fake news about imported bananas from Somalia containing Helicobacter.
According to webmd.com, Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) is a type of bacteria which can enter the body and live in the digestive tract. After many years, they can cause sores in the lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine. For some people, an infection can lead to stomach cancer.
In a statement today, the department said bananas were not recently imported through any South African ports of entry from Somalia.
“The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the fake news about imported bananas from Somalia,” it said.
The department said South Africa regulates the importation of plants and plant products in terms of the Agricultural Pests Act,1983 (Act No. 36 of 1983) and its associated regulations, which require imports to be subjected to inspection at ports of entry or, depending on the protocol, consignments can be subjected to extended detention for further inspection, before their release into the retail space.
“If the consignment does not comply with South African import requirements, entry into the republic is not granted. Imported bananas are carefully examined by the DALRRD inspectors at the ports of entry, to ensure that there are no quarantine pests, food-borne diseases or any other harmful foreign material that can negatively affect the agricultural environment/industry and, in particular, consumers,” it said.
The statement said the department continued to be vigilant in monitoring food products that come into the country, and any product that was suspected of being risky or harmful to consumers or the country’s territory would not be permitted to enter the republic, or would be withdrawn from shelves if such a risk was identified post-border checks or at retail level.
“We urge all the citizens to refrain from sharing such false and malicious information that can create panic among consumers,” the department said.