Groceries inspected for Taiwanese products

by Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2011 11:19 PM | Updated as of Jun 05 2011 03:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and personnel from the Manila City government conducted inspections this morning in various groceries and supermarkets to check on products imported from Taiwan believed contaminated by Di (ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP).

The inspection and monitoring team saw boxes of Treetop 100% Apple Juice and Grape Fruit Pomelo Juice, as well as boxes of Noyu Oolong Tea and Lychee, already in the supermarkets' warehouses ready to be returned to their suppliers.

Though these items are not included in the list of products contaminated by DEHP furnished by Taiwan to the FDA, they still had to be recalled following the FDA advisory recalling all Taiwanese products. 

The FDA found it prudent to do this to ensure consumers' safety.  They also got some samples to test them for DEHP contamination.

The supermarket's management assured the team they immediately pulled out the recalled products from their shelves as soon as they received instructions from their head office.

DTI and FDA representatives also called the attention of the management about some products from China on their shelves whose labels have no English or Filipino translations.

Victorio Dimagiba, DTI director for the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection, said this is against the Consumer Act.

FDA representatives also obtained some product samples to verify if they have been registered with the agency.

Rocelyn Sanvicente, FDA regulation officer, said local government units have already been furnished a list of the recalled products, and the LGUs will just be the ones who will inspect stores nears schools and canteens to ensure that children will not have access to these items.

Manila City Administrator Jay Marzan confirmed they will be having an intensive information campaign this weekend, and will be giving the list to store owners and school administrators so they can be vigilant in ensuring that the recalled items will no longer be sold anywhere.

The FDA also assured that although the DEHP -- a plasticizer -- may be found in school supplies and toys, there is no cause for alarm as this is really used for manufacturing. It is safe to lick or hold these plastic products since exposure to DEHP is very minimal.

What makes it dangerous, the agency clarified, is when the DEHP is mixed with food and juices since the chemical is not supposed to be ingested.