The Associate Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, has called on the Government to make up its mind on whether to legalise turkey tails or ban them altogether.
The Member of Parliament for Faleata West made the point in Parliament, where he claimed that there is now a “black market” in Samoa where turkey tails are secretly being sold.
“We have to come up with a firm decision on whether to allow them or ban them completely,” he said. “They are now widely available.”
Lealailepule said consumers should have the right to choose whether to buy them or not. Which is why it is important for the Government to make up its mind on whether selling turkey tails in Samoa should be legalized.
“What I’ve noticed is that they are part of a black market, it is being brought in secretly by others,” he said.
“If the Ministry of Health is responsible for making the final decision, then in my opinion, let’s legalise it and bring them in.
“We’ve already got public awareness programmes teaching members of the public how to cook them in a healthy way, so let’s just bring them in and allow people their free choice.”
Leala said many people are asking where they can find them.
“Because there are turkey tails everywhere now and they are widely available all over town. Which is why I think we need to make a decision on it.”
The sale of turkey tails was banned from Samoa because of the food’s contribution to non-communicable and lifestyle disease. Studies have shown that 75 percent of the calories from turkey tails come from fat.
In response, the Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao said, the Government had done its job when turkey tails was banned.
But it was when Samoa became a member of the World Trade Organisation (W.T.O.) that the ban was lifted with conditions.
The first condition was that importers would pay 300 per cent duty for the first year. That was to drop to 200 and 100 percent for the next three years.
The Minister however said there is nothing in the laws that allowed turkey tails to be resold at retail stores and yet that is something that is already happening.
Many restaurants have also brought turkey tails back on their menus, which is something the Government will have to look at.