GAME SA, is the representative organization of the game meat industry of South Africa and the acronym stands for: Game Abattoirs and Meat Establishments of South Africa
The companies represented by Game SA carry on the trade of sourcing, harvesting, slaughtering, deboning and packing game meat for the export and domestic market.
While game meat has been consumed by South Africans since the beginning of time, the export of game meat only started in 1979 to countries in what is now known as the European Union and has since expanded to include other countries.
The harvesting and supply of game meat is regulated by the National Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Department of Nature Conservation and for exports the requirements of the countries to which the meat is being exported.
The National Department of Agriculture regulates the export of game meat by means of various Veterinary Procedural Notices (VPN) more specifically VPN 5, VPN 8, VPN 9, VPN 10 and VPN 15 whereas the domestic game meat market is regulated by the Meat Safety Act 40 of 2000. Further game meat regulations have been drafted for the domestic market and are expected to be published in the near future.
To promote the interests of the industry in South Africa and abroad
Actively promoting and creating awareness of game meat products
Liaising with all stakeholders , including Government on matters that affect the industry.
Collecting and distributing market information and statistics to its members.
the various activities involved in this very specialised industry.
To undertake advertising and marketing assistance on behalf of its members.
CODE OF ETHICS
Membership is restricted to such entities who operate in accordance with existing legislation and whose business require them to keep in regular contact with the Association and its members and/or who have involvement in the processing and/or exporting of game meat products. In order to share in the benefits of membership, members pay an annual subscription fee.
REGISTERED DOMESTIC MARKET SUPPLIERS
Constitution of the Game Abattoirs and Meat Establishments of South Africa (Game SA)
Harvesting TeamsFor the purpose of harvesting game each company utilizes the service of professional registered harvesting teams for the purpose of harvesting and slaughtering of game in the field. Each harvesting team on average comprises of approximately 13 people including 3 marksmen, 3 light men 7 slaughterers/processors. It is a requirement that each team is registered with the National Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). In order for the team to be registered with the department, the team has to pass an inspection process carried out by a State Veterinarian to determine if the team complies with all the requirements as stipulated in Veterinary Procedural Notice 8 (VPN 8). Harvesting of game takes place throughout South Africa on both privately owned land and National Reserves.
Sourcing Of GameThe Game owner would either contact the company or the company would contact the game owner to discuss the harvesting of game on the game holding (Reserve or Private Land). The Game owner and the Company firstly agree on: 1) The number of animals to be harvested. 2) The specie of animals to be harvested. 3) The price per kg to be paid for the carcasses. 4) The date for the harvest to take place. Once the game owner and the company have agreed on the above the following takes place 1. Conservation Requirements 1) The game owner makes an application to the Department of Nature Conservation for a permit to harvest game mentioning specifically the number and specie of the animals to be harvested. 2) The Department of Nature Conservation will only issue a permit if the application meets all the requirements, of which there are many, notables being That the animals to be harvested are not listed threatened or protected species i.e. listed under the Biodiversity Act of 2004 as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Protected. That the culling method to be used is not a prohibited method. 2. Export Requirements 1) The game owner contacts the nearest State Veterinary Office to inspect the game holding to be registered as an export holding. When considering approval as an export holding the State Vet follows the procedure as stipulated in VPN 5. Some of the notable checks are Is the holding where the game are situated, a disease free area Is the holding a growth hormone free environment 2) Once the State Vet is satisfied that the area complies with all the criteria he registers the farm as an export holding, issuing a unique registration number. 3) After the holding has been registered the Company informs the State Veterinary Office of the harvesting programme and requests that the State Veterinary Offices make available a Field Game Meat Examiner (GME) to be present during the harvest to inspect the game carcasses and monitor the field operation for compliance.
HarvestingOn the day of harvesting. The harvesting team arrives at the holding and sets up a central field abattoir. The field abattoir is the area where evisceration and inspection of carcasses takes place. The equipment utilized at the field abattoir includes slaughter frames for hanging carcasses, sterilizing units, refrigeration (refrigerated vehicle),weighing equipment, hoists etc The refrigerated vehicle is parked at the abattoir and the refrigeration unit temperature is set. On arrival the Game meat examiner inspects all the equipment and documentation presented by the harvesting team to ensure all the criteria are met. Harvesting (culling) takes place by use of the following means: i) Night harvesting. ii)Helicopter harvesting. i). NIGHT HARVESTING Harvesting takes place at night, mostly during the dark moon phase, by use of motorized vehicles and spotlights. The reasons for night harvesting are various but mainly critical due to the following: a) Due to the spotlight the game are blinded, do not run and are therefore less stressed. b) This leads to a higher percentage of headshots and therefore less meat damage and more humane. c) Results in more selective harvesting, removing excess rams or problem animals. d) Better quality meat due to low stress and therefore lower ph levels in the meat. e) Higher volumes can be harvested over a shorter period making the process economically viable and limiting the duration of the harvest to a shorter period reducing the stress exposure to the remaining animals. ii). HELICOPTER HARVESTING Helicopter harvesting takes place predominantly in areas where it is extremely difficult to near impossible to remove animals effectively by any other means i.e. bush areas where road networks are ineffective or non-existent. By using this method of harvesting one can be very selective in the animals which have to be removed. Helicopter harvesting takes place during the day with an experienced pilot and a professional experienced harvester who shoots selected game from the helicopter. Each carcass is marked by GPS which is then relayed to the ground teams who collect the carcasses and return same to the field abattoir.
Field AbattoirDuring the harvesting process carcasses are continually brought in to the field abattoir. Once the carcasses have been eviscerated, heads removed, feet removed; inspected, tagged and weighed the carcasses are loaded into the refrigerated vehicle. Each carcass together with the red offal is individually tagged with a unique number for traceability purposes. On completion of the harvest the refrigerated truck is sealed by the state appointed game meat examiner and the carcasses are transported to the registered cutting plant accompanied by the inspection document, which gives full details of the harvest.
Cutting PlantOn arrival of the game carcasses at the cutting plant the state vet/Independent game meat inspector performs the following checks: Agrees the seal numbers per the field inspection report with the seals on the refrigerated truck. Checks that according to the field inspection report that harvesting took place according to the regulations VPN 9. Checks the temperature of the carcasses on offloading (below 7ºC within 24 hours). Checks the thermograph reading of the temperature loggers, which record the temperatures from start to completion of harvest to offloading at cutting plant. Visually inspects carcasses for disease and contamination. Carries out inspection of the red offal for any disease. Once the carcasses pass through veterinary inspection the carcasses are skinned, neck tips and feet tips are trimmed, re inspected post skinning by independent meat inspector and passed through to deboning hall for cutting and packing.