29 Nov 2004

Kava conference hopes to finally allay any concerns over the product

8:34 pm on 29 November 2004

A conference in Suva this week, involving stake holders in the kava industry, hopes to finally quash claims that the product is harmful.

In 2001 a number of Western countries, led by Germany, imposed bans on kava and kava products after findings that it could cause liver damage.

The ban prompted the Pacific Islands Forum to initiate research into kava and this has disproved claims it is a dangerous product.

The Forum's Dr Asif Chida says there will be representatives from European companies using kava extract and he hopes the conference will dispel any doubts they still have.

"based on some of the abstracts we have heard it looks quite positive and also we have WHO and other institutions working on this. German authorities are re-visiting this ban and based on the developments we are going to have in the next three days, I am sure some positive outcome will be there, because the bottom line of this conference is to send a message that kava is not harmful as it is perceived"

Dr Asif Chida says the conference will also focus on how to prepare the industry to meet renewed demand for kava once the bans are lifted.