South African Meat Industry Company
The idea behind the launch was to a body that would perform independent third-party inspections and audits, in the meat industry for the industry. As such, SAMIC has been playing an increasingly important role in regulating food quality, especially in the light that the number of abattoirs in South Africa increased from 105 in 1992 to 389 in 2020, with most of these abattoirs found in rural areas.
The company is accredited by the South African National Accreditation System to perform inspection services and registered as auditors by the Southern African Auditor and Training Certification Authority. It is also a member of the South African Association of Certification Bodies and has been appointed under the Agricultural Standards Act (Act 119 of 1990), the Marketing Act and Animal Health Act.
The South African Meat Industry Company employs highly skilled and experienced auditors and inspectors to ensure excellent service to the meat industry.
Services of SAMIC
All registered abattoirs are subjected to at least ten unscheduled audits per year to ensure that classification standards are applied consistently and on a continuous basis. Deviations from the standards have been decreasing steadily over the years, with inexperienced meat classifiers usually to blame for mistakes. SAMIC addresses this problem by hosting refresher inspection courses for classifiers at abattoirs where the deviations have been more than six percent.
Since 2006, the South African Meat Industry Company role has been expanded to also include brand auditing of Quality Indication Marks registered by the Department of Agriculture. Amongst others, these include Quality Indication Marks registered by major retailers, such as Pick n Pay Free Range Lamb, Woolworths Kinder to Sows, as well as private labels, such as Certified South African Wagyu Beef, Fair Game Wild Life Friendly Products, Groot Karoo Natural Lamb and Oak Valley Free Range Acorn Fed Pork.
For traceability purposes, Quality Indication Marks are audited throughout the supply chain, from farms to feedlots, abattoirs, deboning plants and sales outlets, to ensure the integrity of these brands.
Membership of SAMIC
These included the small and large stock divisions of the Red Meat Producers Organisation (RPO), the National Emergent Red Meat Production Organisation (Nerpo), the Skins Hides and Leather Council (SHALC), the South African Feedlot Association (SAFA), the South African Federation for Livestock Association (SAFLA), the Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA), the Association for Meat Imports and Exports (AMIE), the South African National Consumer Union (SANCU), the Gauteng Meat Traders Employers Union (GMTEU), the National Federation of Meat Traders (NFMT), the South African Meat Processing Association (SAMPA) and the South African Pork Producers Association (SAPPO).
These same role-players are the sole members of SAMIC. To prevent manipulation or interference with standards, membership does not yield any financial or other gains. The industry as a whole, however, benefits from SAMIC’s efforts to safeguard product standards and in effect protect consumers and farmers against fraudulent or potentially harmful products.
The South African Meat Industry Company is funded by its members, with a new budget being presented to these role-players each year. The budget is linked to the cost of different inspection and auditing services to allow the company to break even, together with a little extra money to buffer itself against unforeseen costs and ensure its long-term sustainability.
SAMIC Classifications and Divisions
SAMIC was also appointed in 2006, to independently inspect all registered and non-registered abattoirs, meat traders, imported meat and hide and skin plants for Red Meat levy purposes on behalf of the National Agricultural Marketing Association.
Besides this, SAMIC assesses meat classifier students to become qualified meat classifiers, and annually hosts a carcass competition, which allows producers to see what the market wants.
The competition has grown from three shows in 1984 to 66 Commercial and 15 Emerging Farmer Shows by 2015. It s awareness of market expectations and demands and also allow producers to benchmark themselves against other producers and industry norms.
The carcasses are judged based on weight, fat percentage and conformation. Over six-hundred commercial farmers and more than seventy emerging farmers annually participate in the competition.
SAMIC also has a division, ClassiQuip, which is the sole agent to distribute all classification equipment in the red meat industry. These include stamps, for example, for age identification, fatness, conformation, damage and classes as specified in the regulations, as well as roller-marking equipment and edible ink with specifications for each purpose for the market of carcasses.