The Ministry of Health has issued a country-wide ban on imported eggs from the United States of America. This was confirmed by Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr Leao Talalelei Tuitama in a telephone interview with Samoa Observer.
He explained that the move came after “evidence” indicated that the imports were not complying with local regulations regarding the shelf life of eggs.
He explained that for imported eggs, they must be within a 30 day limit from the day the egg was laid to the day they are in the stores, otherwise the eggs cannot be sold in Samoa.
During a brief gathering with the media on Friday afternoon at the Samoa Tourism Authority, Tuitama said the eggs that have been banned and taken off the shelves have been given to the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S.) for testing purposes and to determine if there’s anything wrong with them.
Tuitama said this regulation has been in place for a long time and the main purpose of the ban is to ensure the health of our people is protected.
A public notice was issued last week in the local newspapers and on the radio regarding the ban on the imported eggs.
When asked why businesses were not given ample time to make arrangements to ensure compliance, the Minister said the businesses are well aware of the regulations.
He further stated this is a sensitive issue as there are a lot of factors that need to be considered - the businesses and the consumers.
However the main concern of the Health Ministry is to ensure the public is protected.
“If we allow this to continue and someone gets sick, it will fall back on the Ministry that we are not doing our job.”
It was put to the Minister that while the Health Ministry is doing their job, if there is a backup plan for the demand of the public and business community which includes restaurants and hotels.
Tuitama stated that the businesses should work together with the government ministries to ensure that the imported eggs are in compliance.
“We have local egg suppliers and I don’t want to speculate if they can meet the needs of the public,” said the Minister.
He said the companies which sell the eggs have informed the Ministry the imported eggs from America are stringently tested and there are federal regulations and criteria they have to meet prior to exporting to Samoa.
Furthermore, chickens on the farms off island, are vaccinated and “that raises questions as to whether local chickens are vaccinated or not.”
According to the notice that was published in your newspaper, “that pursuant to the Food Act 2015, the Ministry of Health recalls all Crystal Spring Eggs with the following information: Crystal Spring-GRADE A- EGGS Medium 12 EGGS 061 P1185 16, Sell by May 30 2017 and Crystal Spring - GRADE A -EGGS Medium 12 EGGs 062 P1185 15, Sell by May 30 2017.
“The public is hereby advised that the recalled food product is not fit for human consumption.
“The local suppliers, all supermarkets and retail outlets are advised not to sell Crystal Spring Eggs to the public.
“The Ministry of Health requests the co-operation of the business community and the public in this important matter,” says the notice.