Choosing Between Free Trade and Public Health: Pacific nations try to restrict imports of fatty foods

Samoa has agreed to end its ban on turkey tails. [Michael S. Yamashita/Corbis]

After a 13-year wait, the South Pacific island nation of Samoa should win approval to join the World Trade Organization next month after dropping its ban on turkey tails. The WTO welcomed the nation, with a population of about 193,000 once Samoa agreed to end its ban on the fatty poultry scraps and impose import tariffs instead.

That’s good news for U.S. turkey farmers, who will regain a market for the low-value trimmings that often end up in pet food, says Roman Grynberg, a trade official for the Pacific region until 2009. For Samoa, one of the world’s most obese nations, the deal is a mixed blessing.

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