THERE is concern from international trade experts that Fiji's ban on mutton flaps could be discriminatory against World Trade Organisation policies.
Doctor Anne Marie Thow from the University of Sydney's Menzie Centre for Health Policy said Fiji and Samoa's ban (on turkey tails and mutton flaps) were specific and arguments raised from food industry experts showed that the two products were not the only source of fat.
"There's a concern from the trade side of things and the issue was brought up in Samoa with the World Trade Organisation accession that they selected turkey tails to ban because it was the cheapest and the fattiest meat," said Dr Anne Marie.
"The case was similar in Fiji for the ban on mutton flaps, they were the cheapest and the fattiest. Which is why they were targeted but the issue the food industry argued was that there are other sources of fat, saying that this (mutton flaps) isn't the only source of fat," she said.
Dr Anne Marie said the bans were implemented in Fiji and Samoa in response to concerns over product "dumping" as well as a high fat content.
She said to address this issue, other measures could be introduced.
"For example, in Ghana there's a Food Standards Act that actually restricts meat imports and says that the cuts of meat imports can't have more than 30 per cent fat, it's different meats, but that is the standard requirement that each importer has to meet.
"If you switch from a container full of mutton flaps to a container full of whole lamb carcasses, proportionally, there is much less fat in the whole carcass.
"It's the cuts of meat that are really fatty."
Dr Anne Marie's study on Food Policies in Tonga, Fiji and Samoa highlighted some of the policies introduced by each country to address the rise in non-communicable diseases in the country.
"I was interested because there have been global recommendations to use trade policies to try and improve the food environment and make the healthy choices the easy choices to make for consumers. The Pacific island countries have been actually very innovative at looking at implementing policies in response to these recommendations because elsewhere in the world, there have been recommendations but very little action."