Coles will be selling Fiji Kava’s drinking kava in all stores in Australia except in the Northern Territory,Fiji Kava’s chief executive officer Anthony Noble said.
Mr Noble said its 50g product will be stocked in more than 700 Coles stores across Australia following a pilot program for drinking kava in December, allowing kava to be legally sold for the first time in almost 15 years.
But in the NT it is illegal to import and sell kava, however an individual can possess less than 2kg.
In early 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his plan to ease the restrictions on kava imports during a trip to Vanuatu.
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand states Kava, excluding any kava product that is listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, is listed in Australia as a Schedule 4 poison in the current Poisons Standards.
The drinking kava deal follows on from the February 2020 announcement of a contract for the company to supply Coles with kava capsule varieties in selected supermarkets nationally and online.
Drinking kava is traditionally widely used in the Pacific as a recreational beverage, and is made from the powdered root with water. It has numbing and euphoric properties. In the NT, since the 1980s, indigenous people have drunk kava.
Fiji Kava’s website states its products provide a natural solution to calm and soothe nerves, support muscle relaxation, increase mind relaxation and induce sleep.
Food Standards states ongoing high consumption has been associated with ichthyosiform skin rash, altered liver function and a decline in general health.
But it says there are more than 200 varieties of kava plant, not all suitable for making into a drink, while each Pacific culture has known varieties that are safely used for making kava beverage
“These traditional safe varieties are also referred to as ‘noble’ kavas,” it states.
“Herbal extracts of kava are used in dietary supplements in New Zealand and in complementary medicines listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. Such kava–containing products are commonly marketed for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome and stress”
Extracted from NT Independent