Allergy from Fijian kava was the reason behind confiscation

The four different ava brands which Health officials said are the same product imported from Fiji

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: THURSDAY 09 OCTOBER 2014: The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ministry of Health (MOH) Leausa Toleafoa Dr. Take Naseri has confirmed that complaints of allergy from some people that consumed the Fijian kava sold under a Samoan label was the reason behind the confiscation of the kava last week.

In a press conference today, Leausa said there were complaints about the complications of the ava on some people.

“Some complains were that the ava was hot (feū) and does not taste Samoan,” said Leausa.

He did not say how many complaints were recorded but said the Ministry does not wait to do a head count to act.

Under the Food and Drug Act 1967, the Ministry must act on any complaint.

Last Friday, the Ministry confiscated 172 packets of ava from the Indian couple Rakesh and Joidy Sharman’s business at Saleufi who were importing the ava.

The couple operates an electrical business but explained yesterday that the ava business is operated by a Samoan man who is also their sponsor in Samoa.

Yesterday, the Ministry issued a warning to the public not to buy the Fijian ava sold under the guise of a Samoan label Savelio Ava Samoa Fagaloa or other brands.

Leausa also confirmed that it is only one brand of ava which is sold under four different labels.

The brands are Savelio Ava Samoa Fagaloa, Ava Tonga, Ava Vanuatu and Ava-Ava-Ava-Mefi.

He said there are laws that can prosecute whoever is behind misleading the people.

He said the Ministry is still investigating.

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