Ha’apai Cyclone victims: free tinned fish fiasco

Although people said they had received replacements after rancid cans of tinned fish were returned to local authorities  last week they feared  eating them might make them sick.

Some of the cans of Pacific Chief Sardines received after government food aid was distributed in Ha’apai had been punctured and had then leaked into their boxes causing a noticeable smell.

Government authorities have not yet issued any public warnings or recalls. 

The town officer of Pangai, Moimoi Fakahua, confirmed people had returned some of the sardines.

“Yes, there were cans of tinned fish we got back from the people and we have given them replacements,” Fakahua said.

When asked if he could estimate the number of damaged cans, the town officer said “there were many".

Talking to Kaniva over the phone Lesieli Soakai of Ha’ato’u said when her family opened the boxes they smelt terrible.

“We don’t know why they’d gone rancid as the expiry date was 29/06/2014.”

“We returned them to the town officer and got them replaced – but we still opted not to eat any. I heard people used them to feed their dogs.”

“We only eat tinned fish we receive from the distributions made by the Pentecost Evangelical Fellowships, because their expiry dates aren’t until 2016.”

“They are good ones and still fresh.”

According to experts, some canned sardines when storing above 95 F or 35 C could result in rupture or explosion. Failure to store canned sardines correctly can dramatically reduce their shelf life.

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