MANILA (1st UPDATE) – A sample of the milk tea which caused the deaths of two people in Manila last week tested negative for toxic substances, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday.
In a statement, the DOH said preliminary findings by toxicologists revealed that the sample of milk tea, which caused the deaths of Ergo Cha owner William Abrigo and his customer Suzaine Dagohoy, tested negative for suspected toxic substances.
The initial test sought to find if the milk tea sample was tainted with cyanide, nitrite, nitrate, or arsenic.
The DOH said the same milk tea sample will be subjected to another round of tests to determine what specific substance caused the milk tea poisoning. This time, toxicologists will determine if the milk tea was tainted with any of the following substances: Oxalic acid, Nitrobenzene, Organophosphate, and Organochlorine.
Thee DOH has also expanded the tests to include biological samples from the victims such as blood, tissues, and gastric contents.
The DOH said the poisoning appeared to be an isolated incident, as it was already the third time that the couple bought milk tea from the shop.
''No untoward incident happened during the previous intake. We appeal to the public not to generalize the situation as many small and medium scale enterprises are dependent on the sale of milk tea and similar beverages,'' the DOH said.
Dagohoy and her boyfriend, Arnold Aydalla, ordered a drink at the tea house along Bustillos Street in Sampaloc last Thursday.
They complained that their drink, which was prepared by Abrigo himself, tasted different, prompting the tea house owner to also take a sip.
A few minutes later, Dagohoy vomited and collapsed. Aydalla also felt dizzy and his limbs stiffened.
They were immediately brought to the hospital, but hours later, Dagohoy passed away. The owner died as well and only Aydalla survived.
A helper had claimed he saw the owner's son working with a chemical prior to the incident. The helper said he was even asked to wash a pitcher that had a foul odor. – with reports from Zhander Cayabyab, dzMMl; Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News