labelling requirements

Meeting South African labelling requirements

A number of importers have found a great cosmetic or food product in an overseas country and decided to bring it into South Africa. While it is certainly possible to do so, a number of these goods get blocked by Customs every year due to the product not meeting South African labelling requirements.

South Africa’s labelling requirements are detailed in the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act (Act 54 of 1972). Click here to download a copy of this act.

To comply to South African labelling requirements, the following information must appear on the product:

  • Brand name
  • Product name
  • Manufacturer or packer or distributor name and street address
  • A statement of origin “Product of (Country of origin)” if all ingredients are from that country or “Produced in (Country of origin)” if ingredients are from a different country than the country where the products were manufactured.
  • Manufacture and expiry date
  • Batch number
  • Product size or weight
  • List of ingredients with the word ‘Ingredients:’ at the start of the list.
  • The names of any preservatives or colourants used. Both the name and the number can be used, but the number is not compulsory.

Other requirements:

  • If a nutritional claim is made such as ‘enriched with vitamins’ then the label must contain a nutritional table. The table must give the quantity of nutrients per serving or per the size of the container. All quantities must be given in Standard International (SI) units.
  • Label must be in English.
  • Any product with healing or medical claims needs to be registered at the Medical control council (MCC).
  • Any product with slimming or muscle enhancement claims needs to be registered at the MCC.
  • Labels may not make claims that could be misleading to the consumer.
  • Products may not contain any banned ingredients such as hydroquinone (used for skin lightening).

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Labelling requirements for clothing, footwear and textiles

The South African requirements for clothing, textiles and footwear is covered in the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008.

According to the Act, all footwear, leather, clothing and textiles imported into South Africa must have a label permanently affixed, clearly indicating the country of origin, care instructions, and fibre content.

A copy of the Act can be downloaded here.

This Guide to Labelling of Textiles and Textile Products published by the Foschini Group is also very helpful.

Find more help with your import logistics, original resources, leading-edge training, and assistance with customs licenses on Trade Logistics.