This becomes very clear in the final report of the Codex Alimentarius which has been meeting at the Hotel Le Lagon in Port Vila.
Experts able to advise on nutritional safety standards from the WHO and FAO and professional colleagues from the United States and Canada, countries of the Pacific Islands and Australia and New Zealand have been meeting here since Monday, discussing mainly kava, but also noni.
For noni, the Codex Alimentarius Commission has given Tonga a leading role in setting the standards for noni juice through the Codex electronic information collection systems. They have been meeting as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and whilst their report still needs the authorisation of the headquarters of WHO and FAO it is unlikely changes will be required.
For kava, and thus especially for Vanuatu to note, the discussion paper addressed in the meeting especially drew attention to the standard setting being essentially for the kava product which can be used as a beverage when mixed with water.
It further enhances Vanuatu’s ability to legislate for the kava we all consume here of an evening and which is being consumed similarly overseas and in countries where Pacific islanders now reside.
Vanuatu is the only country to have had kava on the statute books for a long time (since 2002) and its different Pacific uses were highlighted in an evening address Monday by Dr Vincent Lebot, Vanuatu’s expert on the commodity who has written extensively on the subject.
The resolutions do not concern themselves with kava being used as an additive to other things. They only refer to kava the beverage.
The Commission meeting report highlights the Monday evening discussion led by Dr Lebot and the critical importance of kava in the domestic market, its high social and cultural values throughout the Pacific.
Australia and New Zealand have developed standards for kava and their members of the Commission were clear that what is needed is a standard for kava as a beverage when mixed with water as distinct from kava as an ingredient in food.
The final report requests Vanuatu, with the assistance of Australia and New Zealand to revise the existing project document for new work on the basis of the discussions this week in Port Vila..
And Vanuatu was recommended for re-appointment to a second term as Coordinator of the Commission for North America and the South West Pacific.