American Samoa meat ban remains
The American Samoa Government's ban on imported Samoan meat is yet to be lifted, contrary to an earlier public notice.
A public notice from the Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said the American territory had given the green light to regulatory changes allowing meat to be carried across the border for personal purposes and funerals from January 1 this year.
But the Chief-of-Staff to the American Samoa Government, Fiu Johnny Saelua, said plans to lift the ban were still under discussion.
“Negotiations have not been finalised and, more so, the [Department's] Director is no longer working,” said Fiu.
The Director of American Samoa's Department of Agriculture, Filifaatali Mike Fuiava, resigned last month in the aftermath of a a fatal car accident involving one of the organisation's employees.
Fiu said the previous announcement by the Samoa Government was premature.
“There is no official paper work on the meat ban and therefore the ban remains intact,” said Fiu.
An official notice issued by the M.A.F. acknowledged that the Am. Samoa Government agricultural authorities have the sole discretion to determine whether import permits can be issued for raw or cooked meat.
According to the regulations, the maximum limit for the quantity of meat deemed to be for personal consumption is up to 45 kilograms, while the import limit on meat intended for use at family funerals is 136 kilograms.
In 2016, the two Samoas held talks about lifting the ban on meat exports.The ban was not imposed by the Am. Samoa Government but instead by the United States Department of Agriculture, because Samoa does not have an abbatoir that meets their certifications.
The only meat that Samoa can export to the territory is cooked chicken; pork and beef are banned due to concerns about the elevated risk of transmitting disease.
Fiu told the Samoa Observer they will inform the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries once they have finalised issues relating to the ban.
Efforts to get comments from the head of of M.A.F., Tilafono David Hunter, have been unsuccessful.