New body enforces Tonga’s food safety, fights against importation of unsafe food

A new National Food Authority has been launched in Ma’ufanga at MAFFF’s head office on Thursday to enforce government’s Food Acts and to fight against importation of unsafe food to the kingdom.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (MAFF) Hon Semisi Fakahau told guests the national body would address food safety in Tonga and also at the international level.

The new body facilitates health safety trainings for staff and the public, endorses food standard policies as well as dealing with scientific activities such as food analysis processing, according to a statement from the ministry.

The chair of National Food Council Mele ‘Amanaki told guests Tonga’s food control system failed to protect the public health and safety of consumers.

“You may recall that last year, a full container of chicken not suitable for human consumption was released from the wharf to the local market and its contents were unable to be recalled,” Ms ‘Amanaki  said.

“Just at the beginning of this year people from a camp at Liahona were seriously taken ill after eating food provided by the caterers. Despite the efforts, the source of this unfortunate situation was not identified.

‘Amanaki believed these were proofs of poor food controlling and fair trading systems.

“We also heard today that food related diseases such as Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and food-borne diseases such as typhoid are the largest contributors to the ill health and mortality in Tonga,” she said.

‘Amanaki said the launch of the National Food Authority was timely and the National Food Council was ready “to seriously take immediate actions to set up an integrated National Food Control System to ensure the safety of consumers and to promote fair trade in Tonga and also overseas.”

The inauguration was attended by the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners, the Ambassadors of China and Japan, representatives from FAO and WHO, Districts and Town Officers, Representatives of Consumers and stakeholders of the local food industry.


The fact that Tonga is the most obese country in the world and up to 40 percent of the population is thought to have type 2 diabetes was an issue that has been in the global media in the last two decades.

The most recent one was last week in a BBC report on January 18 in which it claimed that one of the main causes is the  mutton flaps the kingdom imported from New Zealand.

However Tongan health authority said it was the unhealthy choice of eating, lack of physical exercises and the quantity of food eaten that caused Tonga’s  high obesity rate.

Tonga’s population in 2002 was 106,000  and it was estimated each person imported about 540g of mutton flaps per head of population per week or three million kilograms per week.

An article in the NZ Medical Journal by Otago University public health experts in 2009 cited  a research that showed Tongans ate mutton flaps on average 2.3 times a week.


  1. Kuo fokotuʻu ha vaʻa foʻou ʻo e Potungāue ki he Ngoue, Toutaí mo e Vatātaá ke ne fusiaʻu e lao ʻa Tonga ki he meʻatokoní mo tauʻi ʻa hono hū atu ki he ʻOtu Angaʻofá ʻa e meʻatokoni ʻikai feʻunga ki he maʻumeʻakaí.

    Ne fakaola ʻeni ʻe he Minisitā Ngoué, ʻOnapolo Sēmisi Fakahau pea ne ne fakahā ki he kau fakaafé ʻoku mahuʻinga ʻa e sino fakafonua ko ʻení he te ne tokangaʻi ʻa e ngaahi tuʻutuʻuni ki he malu ʻa e meʻatokoní ʻi Tongá kae pehē ʻi he lēvolo fakavahaʻapuleʻangá.

    Ko e sino foʻou ko ʻení te ne fakaai ha ngaahi ako ki he kau ngāué mo e kakai ʻo e fonuá, fakamafaiʻi e ngaahi polisī pehē foki ki hono fakahoko ʻa e ngaahi ngāue fakasaienisi hangē ko hano ʻanalaiso mo sivisiviʻi ʻo e meʻakaí.

    Ne pehē foki ʻe he Sea ʻo e Kosilio Fakafonua ʻa Tonga ki he Meʻatokoní Mele ʻAmanaki naʻe ʻikai lava ʻe he founga puleʻi ʻo e meʻatokoní ʻa Tongá ke maluʻi e moʻui ʻa e kakaí mo kinautolu maʻumeʻatokoní.

    Ne ne fakamanatu ai ha koniteini fonu kongokongaʻi moa ʻi he taʻu kuo ʻosí ne ʻikai feʻunga ia ki he kaí ka ne hao hake ia ki tuʻa ʻo fakatau atu ki he kakaí. Ne ʻikai toe lava hano fakafoki ʻo e koniteina moa ko ʻení.

    ʻI he kamataʻanga ʻo e taʻu ní ne ongo na mai ai ha konā ha toʻutupu ʻi Liahona ʻo tukuakiʻi ko e konā mei he meʻakai ne ngaohi mei he ngaahi fale kaí.

    Ne tui ʻa ʻAmanaki ko e fakamoʻoni ʻeni ʻoku ʻikai malu e sisitemi ʻa Tonga ki hono maluʻi ʻa e kakaí mei he ngaahi meʻatokoni ʻikai feʻungá pehē foki ki he fefakatauʻaki ʻoku fai ki he meʻakaí.

    Ne ne pehē ai ʻoku taimi tonu hono fokotuʻu ʻo e sino ko ʻení pea kuo ʻosi mateuteu ʻa e Kosilio Fakafonua ʻa Tongá ke fai leva hano fakahoko e ngaue ko ʻeni ke fakapapauʻi ʻoku maluʻi ʻ a e konisiumá mei he meʻatokoni ʻoku nau maʻú pehē ki he ngaahi meʻakai ʻoku nau fakataú.


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