KENTUCKY Fried Chicken may permanently fly the coop and could cease operations if issues with the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji are not resolved soon.
The imminent closure of the world famous fast-food chicken outlet could affect the livelihood of 80 part-time and full-time staff.
KFC announced the temporary suspension of business for all its outlets in the country on Monday, citing the inability to import key ingredients ù a milk and egg mix and breading salt for its world-famous Original Recipe chicken as the reason.
In a media statement issued by the company, KFC said that since October last year, the Fiji Quarantine and Inspection Division has continuously stopped the importation of vital ingredients.
"The missing ingredients led to a decline in product quality, coupled with rising food costs, contributed to decreasing sales," the media release read.
However, the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji says the decision by Kentucky Fried Chicken to temporarily close all its outlets is not because of an importation ban on key ingredients but purely a business decision.
In a media statement issued by BAF, chief executive officer Elvis Silvestrini said BAF "is not responsible for the closure of KFC and has not banned the importation of KFC's vital ingredients".
He clarified that KFC's key ingredients, a milk and egg mix consignment, is temporarily held up because veterinary certification is required from KFC assuring that the products are free of diseases and safe to bring into the country.
"This is consistent with the conditions for all imports and our international obligations.
"It seems that KFC and Kazi Foods Corporation is using BAF as a scapegoat.
"The fact is that we have held-up two cartons of their ingredients because KFC did not provide a veterinary certificate with its last consignment which is one of the requirements of their import permit."
"The documents that KFC have provided do not certify that the imported ingredients were treated at the temperature sufficient to destroy organisms that pose a disease risk to Fiji such as foot and mouth disease, Salmonella and Staphylococcus," Mr Silvestrini explained.
He added that KFC had been given 'a number of options to clear their consignment, informed at every stage of the process and were clear on import requirements'.
KFC spokesman Nirmal Singh said Attorney-General and Minister for Commerce and Industry, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has indicated that a meeting of all concerned stakeholders would be held on Thursday to resolve the issue.
KFC first opened for business in Fiji 10 years ago.
There are more than 15,000 KFC restaurants in 109 countries and territories around the world.