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KFC Quits Fiji

by 5m Editor
5 August 2011, at 9:02am

FIJI - KFC is to close its operations in Fiji, allegedly as the consequence of a dispute with the authorities over the import of its special ingredients.

Earlier this week, Radio Fiji reported that global fast-food outlet KFC is on the verge of closing down operations in Fiji.

Sources told FBC News that the Fiji franchise was taking steps to close down its three outlets in the country.

Two outlets in Suva and Nadi are already displaying signs that they are re-locating but the source was informed KFC may soon cease to operate.

Today (5 August), the New Zealand Herald reported that the restaurant chain has closed its three stores in Fiji, claiming Commodore Frank Bainimarama's regime had blocked imports of ingredients until the secret recipe was revealed.

Fiji disputes the claim, saying the restaurant chain pulled out because of falling sales and rising costs.

The fried chicken company – founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, whose image is still its logo – said the military regime had not allowed it to import its famous blend of 11 herbs and spices and a milk and egg mix used for KFC's secret recipes since last October.

A statement from the company said: "The missing ingredients led to a decline in product quality, coupled with rising food costs, which contributed to decreasing sales."

But Fiji's Biosecurity Authority, led by Colonel Mason Smith, said it was not to blame for KFC's departure.

Colonel Smith said Fiji "will not be bullied" by Colonel Sanders' chicken chain into compromising its biosecurity requirements.

He described KFC's claims as "mischievous and misleading".

He said: "We wanted to also reassure the public that the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji is first and foremost here to protect the national interest and to protect this nation from the introduction of pests and diseases."

BAF chief executive, Elvis Silvestrini, said there was a discrepancy between what KFC was telling the public and what it told the Government.

He explained: "In a letter to suppliers the [general manager] of KFC said that their decision to suspend business operations was due to the rising costs and deteriorating sales."

He added that KFC's claim that it closed its restaurants in Fiji because BAF refused their imports were "simply not correct".

Mr Silvestrini said the Fijian Government had temporarily withheld two cartons of milk and egg mix because KFC did not provide a veterinary certificate as required.

"It's as simple as that," he said.

According to New Zealand Herald, KFC Hawaii spokesman, Rob Deveraturda, said Fiji was the only country which banned the company from importing its ingredients.