No USDA approval for eggs from Samoa a serious concern Senator says
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono has called for a committee hearing on the controversial importation of eggs from Samoa that has been the subject of news media reports, before the Fono takes its five-week mid-session recess at the close of business today.
Speaking at last Friday’s Senate session, Soliai voiced his concern with the eggs imported from Samoa, saying that such imported products have not received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and this is a serious concern to the Fono.
Without USDA approval, Soliai says this raises concerns pertaining to the health affect on children who consume such products that have no federal oversight.
He recommended that the Senate Agriculture Committee hold a hearing today, and call in senior ASG Agriculture Departments officials to answer questions from senators.
Committee chairman Sen. Ponemafua Tapeni shared with senators that he has followed this particular matter, as reported by the newspaper and radio. He also said that the House of Representatives conducted a committee hearing on it last week. However, he pointed out that the Agriculture director is off island and it’s not sure when he’ll return.
Soliai responded that the Senate should still bring in the deputy director for a hearing, and at the same time, he suggested a resolution be presented for approval, seeking to halt the importation of eggs, to quickly address this important issue, as the products are sold here.
He directed the Senate legal counsel to quickly work on a draft resolution, to which Magalei said he will consult with the legal counsel and will share a decision with senators today (Monday).
Agriculture director Solialealofiotagaloa I. T. Mutini has been off island since Jan. 16 and is expected to return on Feb. 16, according to acting governor, Talauega E.V. Ale’s memo, which designated deputy director Siauini Taala, as acting director, until Solialealofiotagaloa returns.
And Taala was grilled by faipule during a House Agriculture Committee meeting on the pallet of eggs imported to the territory by Samoa-based Sunshine Farm, two weeks ago. See separate story in today’s Samoa News edition from the House hearing.