MANILA - The Palace is confident that the recent decision of Dole Japan to recall 9,000 bunches of packaged bananas from the Philippines due to concerns of tampering will not have an effect the country's export of the fruit to Japan.
The company reported the incident to local police, believing someone in the Philippines inserted the wire into the banana, according to a Kyodo News report.
The fruit subject to recall is being sold at supermarkets and greengrocers across Japan.
In a second instance of possible food tampering, Dole Japan received a complaint on Monday over the phone from a consumer in Aichi Prefecture who said a piece of wire was discovered when eating a banana. The customer did not suffer an injury and no other health problems have been reported.
"We sincerely apologize for causing a significant inconvenience and worry," the company said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, new Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the recalled batch was too small to affect the country's current status as Japan's biggest exporter of bananas.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippines supplies 80% of Japan's banana market.
The Philippine government is currently seeking a zero percent tariff deal with Japan over the country's top agricultural exports, such as mangoes, pineapples, and bananas.
Roque said the recall is not enough reason for Japan to reconsider the request.
"This is not a phytosanitary concern. Kasi ang delikado diyan, when countries impose non-tariff barriers, they impose what is known as phytosanitary. Kunwari, sinasabi nila, there's a threat to health 'no and some countries are notorious for barring agricultural products on this basis 'no," he said.
"But that was not the reason invoked by Japan. So I don't think there's too much of a reason to worry," Roque said. - with a report from Kyodo News