Ministry survey reveals more foreign produce

A Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) survey of fruits and vegetables sold in local shops in Samoa shows foreign-produce has overtaken local produce.

The survey was undertaken in January-February this year to check on the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, in order to ascertain whether a large number of the local population has access to a variety of fruits and vegetables. 

People without their own transport to be able to go to a local shop and supermarket was of particular concern to the Ministry's survey.

The survey monitored a total of 140 shops and supermarkets biannually, in order to determine whether people have sufficient access to fruits and vegetables when they go shopping, especially those that are grown locally. 

According to the findings of the survey, 93 per cent of the shops that were monitored for selling fruits and vegetables had them available. 

However, only 57 per cent of the shops monitored sold local fruits and vegetables while 89 per cent of those monitored sold overseas fruits and vegetables. 

“The percentage of shops monitored who sell more than five overseas fruits and vegetables are 29 per cent whereas 14 per cent of shops monitored who sells more than five local fruits and vegetables.”

Meanwhile, a M.O.H. survey has discovered a breach of the food safety code by some distributors of infant feeding products, who were illegally selling expired goods in Samoa.

This was highlighted in the Breastmilk Substitutes, International code of marketing for Upolu summary report prepared by the Ministry.

The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and Associated relevant to World Health Assembly Resolutions Code ensures that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and those infant feeding products are used safely if needed, stated the report.

“The Code covers a number of areas involved in marketing infant feeding products. It is a set of rules that stop promotion of the products and ensures that all products that are sold are of good quality.

“Infant feeding products include infant formula, soft baby foods and juices (complementary foods), feeding bottles and teats.

“The code applies to all health workers and manufacturers and distributors of infant feeding products. All the main wholesales, supermarkets, pharmacies and large shops in Upolu were visited,” stated the report.

The report also highlighted that a total of 12 per cent of distributors breached the code of promotion whereas 14 per cent of all distributors monitored in Upolu had a code breached in Quarter 1, 2019.

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