AS consumers prepare for the New Year’s Eve “media noche,” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised the public to be wary of tampered with and expired food products being offered for sale at much cheaper prices.
The warning came after an FDA follow-up raid recently on four stores at the Blumentritt Market in Sta. Cruz, Manila yielded P44,342.74 worth of expired products that included assorted margarines, cube mix, spaghetti sauce, sweet tomato catsup mix, cheese mix, cheese spread, pasteurized cheese spread, chicken shredded meat hot and spicy, cheddar cheese spread and assorted flavor 3-in-1 coffee mix.
Earlier, FDA agents confiscated on Thursday an estimated P127,200 worth of the same unsafe assorted food products from three stores at the vicinity of Quinta Market in Quiapo, Manila.
FDA Director General Nela Charade G. Puno called on the public to report immediately to the FDA any suspected unscrupulous trader trying to hoodwink consumers by selling or offering for sale expired food products at cheaper prices.
“These unscrupulous traders who have no conscience at all in endangering public’s health are still at it by selling health hazard foods to consumers preparing for their New Year’s Eve ‘Media Noche’,” she said.
Expired, tampered with and recycled food products pose great health risks to the consumers as they may cause physical discomfort, upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, or worse, food poisoning, the FDA chief said.
Ret. Chief Superintendent Allen B. Bantolo, officer-in-charge of the FDA Regulatory Enforcement Unit, said the seized food products carried the brand of a local giant food and beverage firm.
The raid on Quinta Market and Blumentritt Market was an offshoot of a complaint filed by the food and beverage firm.
Bantolo said both FDA REU operations at the Quinta Market and Blumentritt Market were backed up by elements from the PNP NCRPO’s Regional Mobile Force Battalion.
An FDA team was dispatched by Bantolo to conduct test buys on suspect products which were verified to be tampered with and expired.
Local barangay officials from Quinta Market and Blumentritt Market, who also acted as witnesses to the raid and seizure operation, signed the inventory receipts for the confiscated food products.
“The seized tampered and expired food products are subject for destruction after 10 calendar days,” Bantolo said.