Head of Food Division – ‘Isileli ‘Aholelei

13 May 2020 The contaminated frozen foods and the salty commercial meats without labels became an ongoing issue for the District of Vava’u.

The excessive amounts of commercial controversial goods that were confiscated and destroyed by the Vava’u Task Force (Food Division) within the last two years triggered public disputes for the authorities to put an end to this food problems.

Earlier this week, Mr Vava Lapota, the Town Officer of Neiafu reported in social media that the Vava’u Task Force seized 18 dirty buckets of commercial salty beef at the Puatalefusi wharf without any food’s labels that required by the law.

Neiafu Town Officer – Mr Vava Lapota

Vava Lapota said that two of the higher rank officers from the Food Division in Tongatapu openly disregard the law and ordered for the Task Force to release these un-label buckets of salty beef to the retailers.

The people of Vava’u were mystified with the authorities’ decision and called for the government to seriously reaffirm the safety and hygiene of the frozen foods and the local factory meats that are shipping to Vava’u.

According to Food Act, 2014 clause 14(1) stated that all premises, including warehouses used for the preparation, sale, exposure or storage of food shall comply with the standards prescribed in regulations made under this Act.

Clause 16 – stated that food businesses and their employees shall comply with all applicable hygiene rules established under this Act.

Clause 17 for labelling stated that (1) Every package of food intended for sale in the Kingdom shall contain a label which:

            (a) permits its traceability;

            (b) sets out such particulars as may be prescribed; and

            (c) is in the English or Tongan language or a combination of both.

Head of Food Division Response

VPON Media has contacted the Head of Food Division (MAFF) in Tongatapu Mr ‘Isileli ‘Aholelei, about the outrage dissatisfaction from the people of Vava’u in regard to labelling.

In his response, Mr ‘Aholelei said: “that our technical staffs are continuously working hard to make sure that the disputes on salty meats and food labels are being solved.”

“The decision that was made to the Head of the MAFF in Vava’u was based on reasonable reasons. We allowed the same buckets of salty beef meats to sell in Tongatapu while we address the label’s issue.”

“The law aimed at all the goods that are selling here in Tonga. Thus, our staffs are working hard on the labels of the repacked food products to ensure that the salty meat processors are maintained its hygiene and safety standards.”

“It has come to my attention that there are five local meat’s factories in Tongatapu and Starfish Co. Ltd is the main supplier of salty meats to Vava’u. Our staffs inspected these suppliers on a weekly basis.”

“Due to the disputes of non-labels of salty meats and food’s products. I was told yesterday, that the suppliers have been labelled all their buckets of salty meats that are shipping to Vava’u.”

“The most challenge for the Food Sector is our smallness and undeveloped compared to New Zealand and other developed countries. Here in Tonga, we will develop ad hoc to our resources. Our staffs are not enough and our laboratory equipment is still incomplete.”

“At the moment, the local meat processors do not have any Law such as the Freezing Works in New Zealand. I hope that we will soon have a Law for killing our animals for local meat processors.”

“We do have a Food Bills at the Parliament to help in the re-enforcement of labelling and the food standards that all businesses must follow for food safety purpose.”

“Lastly, I want to apologize for the people of Vava’u if you feel that we did not do our jobs properly and to ensure your safety and health from the foods that we allowed to sell at the retailers.”

“I can reassure you that we all working for everyone’s safety from the foods that only fit for human consumption…”

‘OKU LOLOTONGA NGAUE ‘EMAU KAU NGAUE KE SOLOVA ‘A E PALOPALEMA KI HE ME’AKAI KAKANO’IMANU FAKAMASIMA PEA MOE LEIPOLO – ‘Isileli ‘Aholelei

Koe palopalema ‘eni kuo fuofuoloa mai ‘a e fekuki moe Vahefonua Vava’u hange koe ngaahi Lipooti kuo ‘osi ‘oatu kimu’a ‘o e ngaahi kiki ‘aisi (puha moa) na’e toutou faka’auha koe fakatu’utamaki ki he mo’ui ‘a e kakai. ‘I he konga kimu’a uike ni, na’e fakaha ai ‘e he ‘Ofisakolo ‘o Neiafu Vava Laopta ‘i he mitia sosiale ‘a hono puke ‘e he Task Force ‘i Vava’u ni ‘a e ngaahi kane pulumasima ‘e 18 ‘aia na’e ‘ikai ngata he ‘ene likoliko ‘a e tu’a kane ka na’e ‘ikai ha leipolo ‘i tu’a ke ‘ilo’i pe koe kane ha? Koe ha ‘aho ‘oku totonu ke ‘osi kiai hono ‘aonga (expiry date). Kaikehe, na’e toe lipooti foki ‘e Vava Lapota ia ‘a e ta’efiemalie kakai ‘o Vava’u ‘i he tu’utu’uni ‘a e kau Pule ‘i he Food Division ‘i Tongatapu (‘Isileli ‘Aholelei & Luseane Taufa) ke tukuange pe ngaahi kane pulu ia ke fakatau. Na’e makatu’unga heni ta’efiemalie e kakai ‘o Vava’u pea mo ‘enau ui ki he pule’anga ke fai leva ha ngaue ki he palopalema ni pea fakapapau’i mai ki he kakai ‘oku malu pe mo hao e ngaahi koloa kiki ‘oku ‘omai ki Vava’u ni. ‘Ikai ke ngata ai ka ‘oku fu’u fiema’u e koloa kiki ke ‘ai hano leipolo ke mahino e koloa pea mo hono ‘aho ke ‘osi kiai hono ngaue’aki.

Na’e fakahoko ha fetu’utaki ongoongo ni kia ‘Isileli ‘Aholelei koe Pule ‘o e Food Division pea ko ‘ene fakamtala ‘eni ki he palopalema ni. Na’a ne fakaha mai ‘oku lolotonga ngaue ‘a e kau ngaue fakatekinikale ke fakapapau’i ‘e solova e palopalema ki he ngaahi koloa kiki pehe ki hano leipolo. Na’a ne pehe foki koe tu’utu’uni na’e fakahoko ki he Pule e MAFF ‘i Vava’u na’e makatu’unga ia he ngaahi ‘uhinga lelei. Pea koe ngaahi kane pulu tatau pe ‘oku fakatau monau ma’u me’atokoni ai ‘i Tongatapu neongo ‘oku lolotonga fai e ngaue ki he isiu ko ‘eni. ‘Oku fakataumu’a foki e lao ki he ngaahi koloa kotoa pe ‘oku fakatau atu ‘i Tonga ni. Pea ‘oku ngaue lahi e kau ngaue ke leipolo e ngaahi koloa ‘oku toe ‘a’au ‘o fa’o ke fakapapau’i ‘oku malu mo ma’a ki hono faka’aonga’i. ‘I he fakamatala ‘oku ne ma’u ‘oku nima e ngaahi fale ngaahi’anga pulu masima ‘i Tongatapu pea koe Starfish Co. Ltd ‘oku hu lahi taha e kane pulu masima ki Vava’u pea ‘oku sivi he uike kotoa pe ngaahi ngaue’anga ko ‘eni. Makatu’unga he ngaahi launga kuo fakahoko mei Vava’u, kuou ma’u ha fakaha ‘aneafi kuo ‘osi leipolo he ngaahi kautaha ko ‘eni ‘a e ngaahi kane pulu masima kotoa pe ‘e fakafolau atu ki Vava’u.

Koe pole faingata’a ki he Food Division ko ‘etau kei pepe ‘o fakatatau ki Nu’usila moe ngaahi fonua fakalakalaka ange. Koia ai ko ‘etau fakalakalaka ‘i Tonga ni ‘e fakatatau pe mo hotau ivi mafeia fakapa’anga. ‘Oku kei tokosi’i e kau ngaue ‘a e Food Division pea ‘ikai ke maau e ngaahi me’angaue laboratory. ‘Oku te’eki foki ke ‘iai hatau Lao ‘i tokanga ni ki hono tamate’i koia e fanga monumanu pea faka’aonga’i kakano ke fakatau atu hange koe Freezing Works ‘a Nu’usila. ‘Oku tau kei tamate’i tavale pe ‘etau monumanu ‘i Tonga ni. ‘Oku ‘osi ‘iai ‘etau Lao fakaangaanga i Falealea ki hono fakamalohi’i e leipolo, haisini moe malu. Faka’osi ‘oku ou kole fakamolemole ki he kakai ‘o Vava’u kapau ‘oku ‘ikai fakahoko lelei homau fatongia ke fakapapau’i ‘a ho’o mo’ui lelei moe malu mei he me’atokoni ‘oku tau ma’u. Ka ‘oku ou fie fakaha mo fakapapau’i atu pe, ‘oku tau ngaue kotoa pe ki he malu ‘a e taha kotoa pe ‘i Tonga ni mei hono ma’u e me’atokoni pe koia ‘oku lelei ketau ma’u me’atokoni mei ai. Talamonu atu!

©VPON Media Online 2020