3 Sep 2003

Kava industry seeking more scientific backing over safety over the product

5:12 pm on 3 September 2003

The stake holders in the kava industry want independent evaluation of research they have showing there are no health dangers from the product.

Many western countries have banned kava and kava products after reports that they could cause liver damage.

The Pacific Islands Forum says the kava exporting nations Samoa, Fiji,Vanuatu, and Tonga have suffered considerably as a result.

A study done last year by Dr Joerg Grunwald, commissioned by the EU at the request of the Forum, found the negative claims about kava unfounded.

The Forum's Jaindra Kumar says a meeting of industry stakeholders in Brussels last week agreed to promote the results of this study, but he says they won't stop there.

"what they want to do, is to get an independent evaluation of the study done as well so that nobody can question that the study is biased... So in that regard, we probably would be liaising with the World Health Organisation to look at the kind of study done, so that you can get an independent evaluation of that study."