19 May 2020

Safety fears about salted beef in Tonga's Neiafu

7:16 am on 19 May 2020

The town officer in Neiafu, in Tonga's Vava'u group of islands, is concerned expired meat is being sold.

Vava Lapota ordered that 18 buckets of salted beef be confiscated because it was unlabelled and may have expired.

He also told Kaniva Tonga that the buckets the meat was in were dirty.

But the website reports that the owners secured approval from the Food Division in Nuku'alofa to sell the meat.

Mr Lapota said there has been a series of long-running disputes and complaints over the sale of expired meat and controversial food products in Vava'u.

He said it was illegal to sell food products without labels on them while there were concerns about whether the right sort of salt was used on the beef.

The chief executive of the Ministry, Dr Viliame Manu, spoke with Kaniva Tonga about unsafe food products but didn't comment specifically about the latest complaint.

He said it was an offence to sell foods that negatively affected people's health.

Dr Manu said businesses had to be warned three times and if they continued breaking the law they would be charged.

There have been several incidents of expired goods being sold in Neiafu this year, most notably hundreds of boxes of rotting chicken which had to be destroyed after authorities inspected a refrigerated container at a shop in February.

The discovery of rotting salted beef is also common in the town.