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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 6, 2000 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Fiji’s Consumer Council has praised the government’s decision to ban the import of lamb flaps, saying it is a step in the right direction.

The government announced its decision last week to prohibit the sale of lamb flaps in the country.

Studies warn that lamb flaps are a health risk and can lead to high blood pressure and obesity.

"I know it is cutting out the choice of consumers to determine for themselves, but I can’t argue with the government," said Fiji’s Consumer Council Executive Director Matai Lambati. "We want consumers to know that buying lamb flaps doesn’t help in their health."

Lamb flaps, which comprise of muscle fat and tissue from the belly of young sheep, are imported from Australia and New Zealand and relatively inexpensive to buy.

In New Zealand, lamb flaps are not sold for human consumption and instead are processed as fertilizer and dog food.

"Lamb flaps have been allowed because Pacific people found it to be edible," Lambati said. "It’s a question of choice and economics because it’s cheap. But there are other alternatives in the marketplace, such as locally produced products."

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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