Awakening to LBGTIQ - experience, disagreement & acceptance
Overlooked laws prevent proper growth of informal economy

Cheap fatty meat is blamed for Pacific diabetes epidemic

Lamb flapsMICHAEL MORRAH | Newshub

AUCKLAND - Health specialists say sugary food as well as fatty meat from New Zealand are contributing to a diabetes epidemic in the Pacific.

The foods include high-fat Kiwi corned beef, biscuits and sugary soda.

Imported processed food inundate supermarket shelves in the Pacific, while junk food adverts even appear at school.

"There's a consensus here that there's a crisis when it comes to non-communicable diseases as a result of poor diet in the Pacific Islands,” said Associate Professor Dr Jacqui Webster, from the George Institute for Global Health.

Many Type 2 diabetes patients end up in surgery to remove cataracts after losing their vision.

A change in diet and a lack of exercise is contributing to the diabetes crisis. Cheap fatty meat from New Zealand, like lamb flaps, is considered part of the problem.

"Why would we do it? Why would we export to other countries food that no New Zealander in their right mind would eat?" said Andrew Bell, executive director of the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. "It doesn't seem to make any sense."

Most of New Zealand's fatty meat goes to China - more than 38,000 tonnes last year.

Samoa tops the list of Pacific countries, receiving 459 tonnes of Kiwi lamb flaps and breast meat, following by Papua New Guinea (371 tonnes) and American Samoa (159 tonnes).

"So New Zealand government and Australian government, who are so generous giving financial support through aid to Pacific Island countries, it's in their best interests to actually start addressing some of these economic issues as well," Mr Bell said.

"There's no justification for making our own food healthier and then exporting less healthy foods,” Dr Webster said.

But exporters say only a fraction of meat sent to the Pacific is lamb flaps.

"Only about 13% are these types of cuts," said Dave Harrison, Beef and Lamb's general manager of policy and advocacy.

"Most of what we're sending there are higher value cuts that are going into the restaurants and going into the food trade up there."

However the food trade is changing in the Pacific, with fewer people relying on traditional produce and more converging on urban centres.

Dr Webster, who has a PhD in public health, said regulation is essential.

"We need to look at different ways that we can manipulate prices of foods so that the healthier choices are more affordable for people."

The Fred Hollows Foundation said its clinics are inundated and there must be behaviour change - starting with the youngest generation.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bernard Corden

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is a worth reading and provides descriptions of the stockyards and abattoirs in Chicago during the early 1900s, which will put you off eating meat.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Michael and August, thanks for the update on the rabbits.

I wouldn't trust a bunny as far as I could throw it, they are the ultimate survivor. When we eventually turn the world into a dead and sterile planet I guarantee there'll still be bunnies and cockroaches around.

I wonder whose brilliant idea that was, no, let me guess, AusAid?

The big scare in the 1960s occurred at about the same time that academics were discussing the advantages and pitfalls of introducing exotic animals into PNG.

As I recall one of our discussion topics at ASOPA was the impact of importing Bengal tigers into PNG (okay for the Haus Tambaran but not a good idea elsewhere I'd suggest).

Rabbit was a big part of the Australian and British diets in the 1950s. Nowadays it's a gourmet dish made out of lovable white fluffy ones.

Michael Dom

An Australian project introduced domesticated rabbits into PNG in 1993. Go here for some local information

These captive bred rabbits are unable to survive in their own in the wild.

The results of successful breeding also include our modern day broiler chickens. These are nothing at all like village chickens because they simply cannot feed themselves.

Broiler chickens which will drop dead naturally soon after seven weeks no matter how much feed and medicine you try to provide them, in fact the better the feed, the sooner they die (either way) - they are bred to be meat animals.

You don't need to believe me because you're free to try keeping rabbits and broiler birds yourself.

Go ahead waste tour own time and money trying to undomesticate rabbits and broiler chickens.

August Fairsay

Food and Agriculture in PNG:

R Michael Bourke & ‎Tracy Harwood, 2009 - ‎Cooking.
There is a surplus of higher-priced beef cuts in PNG because the market demand is for cheaper cuts.... Domestic rabbits were only introduced into PNG in 1993.

Integrating Village Rabbits in Papua New Guinean Agriculture prepared by David Askin, training course, September 1996 - for women from the Oro, Western and Sandaun Provinces.

August Fairsay

Rabbits were introduced into PNG for protein. These were the ones that were supposed to not dig.

I rang NZ to see if they might revert to digging - a supposedly remote possibility. I opposed their introduction a comment posted in local paper.

hey were in Lae and the Highlands primarily. My uncle in Lae was rearing them for meat and fur.

High cost of production etc and the commercial venture failed.M eat was sold in Papindo.

Philip Fitzpatrick

I don't think rabbits ever made it to PNG.

I remember seeing wanted posters for bunnies in the highlands in the 1960s because there were rumours that some had been smuggled into the country.

Michael Dom

Too much of any protein and too little exercise will make people fat.

The fatinness moves from head to arse.

Use contents of head properly and appendages of arse regulary.

A Fairsay

Lamp flaps should be banned if not heavily taxed along with fast food and processed food that is bad for health.

On the Dateline (ABC) program, “Obesity in Paradise”, 93% of adults in American Samoa were said to be overweight or obese and one in three has diabetes.

So their lives are more or less very unproductive and a nation becomes fairly hopeless. Samoa has a similar problem but not as acute.

Coconut oil is not a very healthy oil.

In PNG, tilapia & rabbits were introduced but both cause problems with local biodiversity.

Wallaby and bandicoot rearing should be encouraged.

Simply relocating both to greener pastures and having taboos on the numbers allowed to be killed and when they should be killed and killing less females if possible. This can be a cheap and healthy source of protein.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)