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Samoa’s Consul General asserts food quality in his country is up to par

Samoa Consul General Fata Brian Kaio
This includes poultry, egg, and meat exports

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Samoa’s Consul General Fata Brian Kaio says poultry and meat exported out of Samoa are up to standards as per Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) requirements.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is an international organization that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.

The comments by Fata ware aired on KVZKTV last week after media reports about the importation of eggs from Samoa that were stopped due to unmet requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for commercial importing of eggs.

Fata explained that Samoa is a member of the FAO and they have been working together in terms of the food safety and quality of agriculture, meat and poultry.

“Samoa has the support of the FAO and the World Health Organization as they have accredited export businesses in the Country hence allowing them to send goods overseas commercial wise.”

According to Fata, world leaders would never entertain heading to Samoa if they knew the quality of food there is not up to par with international standards.

The Consul General has reassured that the food quality in the country is up to par.

Earlier this month, Acting Director of Agriculture Siauini Taala, testified before the House Agriculture Committee, confirming that egg imports from Samoa are now on hold, while they work on meeting the requirements of the USDA.

He also confirmed the eggs imported last month that led to the hearing before the House held by the Department of Health, was not over the quality of the eggs but due to unmet requirements for commercial imports of poultry into the territory.

Former Customs Agent and first term lawmaker Rep. Tapai Alailepule Benjamin Vaivao questioned the acting Department of Agriculture (DoA) director why the DoA was involved in selling eggs from Samoa, when they are a government department and should be protecting the territory.

“This is why I know you’re not telling the truth, you have a business that is cited in the permit to import the eggs, but it is not limited to just the eggs, there is also taro, tumeric and lettuce that are being sold locally through this company,” said Tapa’i.

The lawmaker, expressed disappointment with Ta’ala, accusing him for not telling the truth.

Taala, explained that the eggs from Samoa are only for trial purposes. He also stated that the eggs cost $45 a case and that payments are sent back to Sunshine Farms owned by Frankie’s Company Ltd.

Faipule Malaeoletalu Melesio Gurr queried whether the goods imported from Samoa have been certified.

Ta’ala explained they are working on the certification process, which is lengthy.

“Based on what I was told by the quarantines officers, they are in contact with USFDA (Food and Drug Administration) officials and they are aware of what is happening, but it is just a matter of time.

Faipule Vailoata Amituana’i expressed concerns over allowing imports from Samoa without USFDA certification.

He said an MOU has already been signed between the heads of governments of Samoa and American Samoa.

According to Faipule Amituana’i in the past, the Samoa Government was supposed to go directly to the USFDA to get their certification for imports then they can import directly to American Samoa, but it appears the local government is doing that for them. He then suggested leaving this matter to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House to meet with the Governor on the issue.

According to Talanei American Samoa’s former veterinarian, Dr. Barbara Kahl confirmed in her report from last year that ASG has not filed as an exporter to the U.S. through the FDA or Food Safety and Inspection Service, which she said is mandatory before any food can be shipped here for commercial use or in larger quantities of personal use.

Her report was submitted on October 17, 2022, after inspecting two poultry farms in Samoa, Ah Liki’s and Sunshine Farm.

“…No food from either company should be allowed entry to American Samoa as an edible product until standards are elevated to those mandated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations.”

According to Talanei, in an email addressed to the Director of Health Motusa T. Nua, Director of Agriculture Solia Mutini, Lt. Governor Talauega E.V. Ale and Aileen Solaita, the veterinarian wrote, “I find in my unofficial evaluation that neither producer should be allowed to send food to American Samoa.”