Canned pilchards have been removed from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) menu with immediate effect in response to a National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) call for retailers to stop selling the products, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) said in a statement on Wednesday

The NRCS ordered “all formal Wholesalers, Retailers and informal Traders to remove and stop selling the 400g Pilchards in Tomato Sauce and 400g Pilchards in Chili Sauce with immediate effect”.

“This follows the outcome of the NRCS investigation which revealed a deficiency in the canning process,” the department said.

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.

“The canned fish is a common item consumed in all of our schools that offer the NSNP to more than 9,2 million learners every school day,” the department said.

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The Department has also advised provinces to “check all pilchards stock against the official list of products and product codes ZST29 and ZSC29 in the attached official communication from the NRCS, and follow the guidance provided therein; [and to] replace pilchards with other sources of protein from their approved menus in the meantime”.

Director for NSNP, Neo Sediti, said the department was working in collaboration with provinces to ensure that food items used in the administration of the nutrition programme 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 the any potential challenges and protect the profile, credibility and integrity of the NSNP,’’ Sediti said.

“The 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.”

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Author: ANA Newswire