No sign of contaminated “Renang” sardines in Samoa

About the author:

Tina Mata'afa-Tufele is a Pasifika journalist that has been writing and covering news related to the Samoan experience for over a decade. She's written for Samoa News in American Samoa, (covering news from Hawaii, the U.S.

  • Canned sardines.
    Canned sardines.

There is no sign of “Renang” sardines in Samoa, a brand of tinned fish packaged in China, pulled from the market in Malaysia late June after authorities discovered parasitic worms in the product.

None of the major wholesalers in Samoa – Ah Liki, Chan Mow, Frankie’s, Farmer Joe’s, Ah Fook and Bargain – carry the brand.

This was discovered during a phone survey conducted by Newsline Samoa after it received public concerns about the canned food, in particular the brand called “Renang.”

Sardines in tomato sauce, called “sosi tamato” by locals, make for a popular inexpensive meal in Samoa. Cartons of the items are purchased and traded widely in traditional Samoan gift exchanges during fa’alavelave

Sardines are fast replacing tinned mackerel, called “elegi” by Samoans in fa’alavelave.

Sardines and mackerel are both oily fishes but between the two mackerel remains the chosen favourite for meals among local families. 

Dozens of brands from mackerel are sold in Samoa. Those currently in stock at wholesale outlets are: First Choice, Beach Cliff, Ocean’s Queen, Nemo, Yummee, Pacific, Seastar, Seapost and Tasi.

Brands currently available through local wholesalers include: Ocean’s Queen, Yummee, Sea Star.

Malaysian authorities announced 26 June, 2018 that parasitic worms were found in the canned sardines imported from China. It was reported by United News International based in the Philippines.

The containers arrived in Penang port in May and hold over 36,700 kilograms of “Renang” sardines, said UNI. The tainted goods, worth nearly $200,000 Malaysian dollars were detained.

The Malaysian Quarantine and Inspection Services (MAQIS) said the worms are most likely from the genus Anisakis.

The parasite causes Anisakiasis disease which attacks the gastrointestinal system and causes symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea and nausea.

United News said the Malaysian Ministry of Health has been monitoring the inflow of foodstuff from China since April.

At that time Indonesia ordered three importers of China goods to withdraw their products nationwide due to parasitic contamination.

Calls to major retailers and visits to several retailers in the Apia area yielded no sign of the “Renang” brand.