Liquor board puts a temporary ban importing of ethanol


Liquor Board has put a temporary ban on the importation of ethanol by the local alcohol manufacturer companies.

This was revealed in a letter to all the alcohol manufacturer companies endorsed by the Chairman of the Liquor Board, Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio.

Dated 4, March the letter obtained by Radio Polynesia say at the last Liquor Board meeting of the Liquor Board 17 February 2022, the members discussed various reports on the concerns over the growing incidents of violence and possible deaths as a result of heavy consumption of ethanol based liquor within our community.

“These concerns were again raised by the community including the Media and the Courts on the continuing impact posed by the use of ethanol based liquor. This has prompted the Liquor Board to investigate and has made a decision based on its findings.”

Tuala on Thursday confirmed there is methanol in some of the locally produced spirits.

He said the methanal is used to clean the production equipment but there is scientific evidence that methanal was found in not just rover but many other local spirits and they suspect the alcohol is tainted.

Tuala informed the companies of the temporary restriction and prohibition will be place on the importation of ‘ethyl alcohol’ commonly referred to as ‘ethanol’ for a period of six months commencing 7 March 2022 – 7 September 2022.

“The prohibition will be subject to the following conditions and exceptions, all importation of ethanol (undenatured or denatured) intended for human consumption or that of the manufacture of alcohol will be prohibited within the specified period.

“All consignments containing ethanol of the type stated in part (a) above, which have already been loaded onto vessels for import into Samoa as of the date of this letter will be allowed to be imported but subject to further examination of the authorities.

“You are therefore required to submit to our office proof of loading of your relative consignments prior to the date of this notice,” said Tuala in his letter.

Furthermore the Deputy Prime Minister said ethanol of the industrial grade, intended for cleaning, the food grade for analysis imported by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS) and ethanol imported in limited quantities imported by pharmacies for cleaning and analytical use, will not be governed under the restriction/prohibition order.

“The prohibition is temporary to allow the Liquor Board to assess the current situation and decide on a way forward to ensure the safety of our community.

“We have received preliminary scientific advice regarding the presence of an excessive amount of methanol contained in most of our locally manufactured ethanol based liquor. The assessment work will extend to cover the import processes, suppliers and local production and especially the legal frameworks governing this particular activity,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.