KFC leaves Fiji amid crumbs row

A KFC takeaway meal KFC said sales were falling in Fiji

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The fried-chicken restaurant chain KFC has halted operations in Fiji, amid a row over imports of the ingredients to make its flavoured crumb coating.

The multinational said Fiji's military government had stopped it from importing herbs, milk and eggs.

Fijian officials said two cartons of eggs and milk had been delayed because KFC needed to provide documentation.

They accused the firm of exaggerating the row, and say KFC is pulling out because its operation has gone bust.

Agriculture permanent secretary Colonel Mason Smith said the firm was using mischievous public relations tactics.

"The onus is on KFC to provide us with a simple veterinary certificate, that is all we ask," he said.

KFC said that the military government had stopped imports of its herb salt, milk and eggs late last year.

The firm, which has three restaurants in Fiji, said the import problems coupled with rising food prices had made it impossible to make a profit.

But Elvis Silvestrini, of Fiji's biosecurity authority (BAF), disputed KFC's version of events.

"The truth is BAF has only temporarily withheld two cartons of milk and egg mix because KFC did not have the required documentation," he was quoted as saying in the state-controlled Fiji Times.

"We have been waiting for the veterinary certificate since early May [2011]. When this is provided, we'll be able to release the cartons."

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