The study, published in the international Food Control journal, was conducted by Donna-Maree Cawthorn and Professor Lou Hoffman of the Stellenbosch University Department of Animal Sciences, with Harris Steinman of the food and allergy consulting and testing Services in Milnerton.
While there were reports on the information last year, the saga over horse meat in European meat products has sparked recent fears.
Hoffman told the Cape Argus the research was conducted in cities in four provinces, including Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, and at "all the major retailers, as well as smaller retailers".
In their conclusions, the researchers wrote, "the potential for undeclared species to become present in meat products due to accidental cross-contamination and deliberate substitution has been demonstrated, the results of which hold considerable financial, religious, ethical and public health ramifications.
"In addition, such practices are frequently contravening legislation in South Africa and are undermining fair trade on the domestic meat market. Overall, such findings raise significant concern on the functioning of the meat supply chain in South Africa."
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