Reports of worms found in canned goods in Samoa prompts Fono questions
Sen. Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono has asked the Senate Health/LBJ Committee to look into reports out of Samoa about an incident where worms were found inside cans of herring, a product allegedly manufactured in China.
During yesterday’s Senate session, Soliai said he forgot to raise this issue with Health Department director Motusa Tuileama Nua during the DOH budget hearing early this week. He says he has health concerns of the possibility any of these cans of herring, or ‘apa elegi’, products being sold in any local stores, especially Asian-owned stores.
And with close ties between families in American Samoa and Samoa, there is also the concern that some of these ‘apa elegi’ products could make their way into Pago Pago, said Soliai, adding there are reports that families in Samoa are affected by these herring products due to alleged worms found in the herring cans.
He says DOH should conduct a site visit to see if this product is sold in the territory or if its being imported for use in American Samoa. Soliai however could not recall the actual name of the herring product.
Senate Health Committee vice chair Sen. Saole Mila said the product’s name is “Manaia” and the fish meat is the color “pink”. He also said the committee will comply with Soliai’s request and will send a communication to Motusa.
When contacted last yesterday afternoon, Motusa confirmed he had received a phone call — yesterday — from Saole about the ‘apa elegi’ brand ‘Manaia’ and health inspectors have already been dispatched to check on stores.
A Samoan story, under the column ‘Tala Mai Samoa’, printed in the Le Lali’s edition of Samoa News on Thursday this week quotes a member of a family in Samoa saying they received cases of canned herring during a funeral three to four weeks ago and they had just opened one of the boxes last week to eat one of the cans.
One family member suffered stomach pains after eating the herring without knowing the cause. But it was only discovered that there was worms in the can after other cans in the box were opened. The family, who claims the product is made in China, contacted health officials in Samoa.
Reports from Samoa state this is the second incident this year involving the issue of worms found in cans of herring, although it’s not known if it is the same brand as ones previously reported as containing worms. Health officials in Apia declined to comment further as their investigation continues.