With a German court ruling last month to lift a ban against Pacific kava exports, one of the region’s experts on the traditional commodity has warned about the need to monitor and maintain product quality. “Farmers planted all sorts of kava, traders and exporters are not controlling the quality of the kava being exported,” said Dr Vincent Lebot who’s based in Port Vila, Vanuatu. “The wrong varieties and wrong parts of the plant have been exported. This is potentially very dangerous because if some kava of poor quality is exported to Europe, it will mean the end of Pacific kava exports. “ Y o u have to understand that BfArM basically was quiet upset when they lost the case and they will be very happy if they discover that they were right. Now we are entering a very dangerous and risky period because if we don’t do our homework, we might export poor quality kava and that will be the end of the story.” BfArM is the German health authority agency that instigated the ban against Pacific kava exports into Europe in 2002. It had said then that some kava tablets were toxic and resulted in the death of a consumer. Pacific countries led by scientists like Dr Lebot then put together a case to challenge the ban in the German courts. Dr Lebot said when scientists made an evaluation of the so-called ‘German cases,’ none of them were valid.
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