Taki MaiTaki Mai

By Zane Yoshida

Lessons in Processing Kava

Have you ever wondered what goes into processing kava? How one of those beautifully green, leafy, kava plants is turned into that Taki Mai shot in your hands?

How is all the goodness and taste extracted safely and delivered to you in a way that you enjoy it practically anywhere and at anytime?

Any why is it brown and muddy-looking rather than green?

Wonder no longer.

This Talk Business video from Fijian TV explains what happens when processing kava – from the farms and nurseries through to being ready for export and sitting on US supermarket shelves.

You may be a little surprised about the parts of the plant we use – and what is discarded.

Zane and the team explain all you need to know…

By Zane Yoshida

Producing Nations Set To Up Quality of Kava

In the coming months and years we expect to see a gradual rise in the quality of kava coming out of the South Pacific kava producing nations.

That’s not just because we, at South Pacific Elixirs, have been pioneering our elite kava nurseries in Ovalau, Fiji, to grow the highest possible grade of disease-free kava. It’s also because this message is being broadcast loud and clear to all the major producers in the region.

One bad kava story…

With the world becoming more interested in kava, and the message finally getting out that kava is not only safe, but promotes good health and lowers stress, it’s a timely reminder to keep the quality of kava up for exports.

Since the German ban was overturned in February 2014, there has been a rise in demand, as new markets have become interested in importing the root in supplement form. The EU has even agreed to conduct a new kava study.

As demand is set to boom, there is a rush to produce more. At the same time, one bad story can ruin the industry. It was a very few cases of liver damage reported in Europe (from inferior quality of kava) that previously led to the kava ban on Europe and lots of adverse publicity.

The calls for an increase in quality are to avoid the type of ‘image’ problems that kava has suffered from recently.

Maintaining quality of kava for export

Radio New Zealand International reported at the end of April:

“Kava-producing countries have been put on notice that nothing less than top quality exports are crucial in ensuring the industry thrives.

Scientists are now analysing kava from across the Pacific to formulate a gold standard and find easier ways of weeding out kava varieties of a lesser quality described as “non-noble”.

The chair of the International Kava Executive Council, Tagaloa Eddie Wilson, says there will always be importers looking for cheaper varieties and governments need to get tough.

‘There are certain traders in the industry that are still finding their way to get hold of this and export them. That is a no-no, industry in the Pacific has met several times and they have agreed that this kava which is non-noble must never be used in the trade.’”

Keeping kava ‘noble’

‘Noble’ kava is another name for the ‘elite kava’ that Taki Mai supplements are made from. It is the highest grade available, and countries like Vanuatu have already passed legislation (the ‘Kava Act’) to outlaw exports of inferior or ‘non-noble’ kava.

Failure to prevent export of these ‘non-noble’ varieties of kava is perhaps what led to some of the problems in the past.

It is important for customers of Taki Mai to know that we take kava cultivation seriously – as shown by the previously-referenced article on our kava nurseries in Ovalau, Fiji.

Not only is the quality of kava the best available, we have received good manufacturing practice (GMP) accreditation; and we produce medicinal grade kava that is certified in Australia as a therapeutic good. So you can feel perfectly safe taking our kava shots, powder, or capsules.

By Zane Yoshida

Medicinal Kava – What Is It and Why Should You Be Excited?

Anyone casually searching for “kava” on the Web will find a few alarming stories as well as the ones which talk about the health benefits. While sometimes it seems that rather powerful forces are out to damage the good name of kava, the best way to battle this is to make kava products above suspicion.

At least that’s the route we’ve taken at South Pacific Elixirs. We are absolutely determined to play our part in getting kava the credit it deserves. That’s why we have focused on producing the best possible quality medicinal kava products that meet the exacting international processing standards.

Partnership with Douglas Pharmaceuticals

You may have read recently that we secured HACCP (“Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points”) and GMP (“Good Manufacturing Practices”) certification for the Taki Mai factory in Levuka, Fiji.

We took another important step along this path recently by partnering with Douglas Pharmaceuticals to produce pharmaceutical-grade kava for our kava powder and capsules: the latest additions to the Taki Mai range.

Douglas Pharmaceuticals is a well-established New Zealand- based company of almost 50 years. It is one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical development and manufacturing companies in Oceania, with a presence in Fiji and the United States.

Yes – It‘s really medicine!

Since we started this blog we have been stressing the health benefits of kava, especially in terms of stress and anxiety relief. Now we can really say that it’s medicine.

As the Fiji Times reported on June 18th:

“International buyers attending the Fiji Tourism Expo had the opportunity to peruse and sample medicinal kava yesterday…developed to pharmaceutical standards through Nadi-based Douglas Pharmaceuticals (Fiji) Ltd.”

Taki Mai founder Zane Yoshida says:

“Because we were working to pharmaceutical standards, we had to have approvals in place from governments we’re looking to export to, so work in progress for us was six to 12 months.

“We’ve been getting a lot of progress here in Fiji with the tourist market, but also we’re getting a lot of interest in the local market.

“At the moment, the finished products of our shots are produced offshore in the US, so we’re bringing all our products back to Fiji and partnering with Douglas Pharmaceuticals for all kava capsules and kava powder and now our kava shots as well.

“We now have three products for the Taki Mai brand and are also looking at launching a line extension to our shot in six to 12 months. We didn’t expect to expand this quickly but market response has been overwhelming.”

This is good news for kava lovers. Raising the quality of kava to meet international production standards and earn pharmaceutical grade status can only help to raise the profile of our beloved root!

By Zane Yoshida

Taki Mai Kava Shots: HACCP and GMP Certification

South Pacific Elixirs Ltd, the makers of Taki Mai kava shots and more recently, kava powder and kava capsules, is the first company processing kava to receive HACCP and GMP certification.

But what do these letters mean and what does this mean to you – someone who enjoys kava for its taste, its calming effects, or its other health benefits?

What is HACCP and GMP certification?

We mentioned in a blog post at the turn of the year how one of the main focuses of 2015 for South Pacific Elixirs was to become fully compliant with all the stringent regulations imposed upon imports of food, beverages, and supplements into the US market.

HACCP stands for “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points” and GMP refers to “Good Manufacturing Practices”.

This accreditation is for primary industry, food retail, food service, food manufacturers, packaging manufacturers, brokers, distributers and wholesaler organisations that need to demonstrate to suppliers and customers that they have implemented a stringent system of Food Safety Hazard controls.

In order to receive this certification the organisation must develop, document, implement and maintain a Food Safety Management System that meets specified international requirements.

We have met these requirements and this means that every shot of Taki Mai you drink, or every capsule you take, has been prepared in the right way.

Assistance from Australia

The certification was achieved with the generous assistance of the Market Development Facility (MDF), which is an Australian-funded initiative that has collaborated with South Pacific Elixirs since 2012, as part of its aim to support innovative business ideas for economic growth in Fiji.

The HACCP and GMP certification places us in a strong position for increasing our presence in other export markets in the future. So you can expect to see the four flavours of Taki Mai shots and the kava powder and capsules not just in the US, but in other markets in Asia and Europe soon. Stay tuned for more news…

Lessons in Processing Kava
Producing Nations Set To Up Quality of Kava
Medicinal Kava – What Is It and Why Should You Be Excited?
Taki Mai Kava Shots: HACCP and GMP Certification