By Tyrone A. Velez
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Health authorities in Davao are intensifying their monitoring of Chinese food products, particularly those being sold along Magsaysay Avenue (Uyanguren), following the decision by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) to pull out candies and biscuits imported from China.
Debbie Legaspi, head of the BFAD in the region, told davaotoday.com that they have randomly collected several food products from stories in the city for safety testing. She said this week they were still awaiting results from Manila.
Most of the sample food products came from stores on Magsaysay Avenue where Chinese products proliferate, Legaspi said.
Legaspi, however, said their operation is limited by the fact BFAD still does not have a list of the 180 food companies in mainland China that Beijing closed down recently, after determining that products from these companies were contaminated with all sorts of harmful chemicals and elements, such as formaldehyde.
“There was no list provided of the closed establishments and their products, so we cannot pinpoint which particular products we are going after,” Legaspi said.
This week, four imported Chinese food products were ordered removed from the market by the BFAD after tests revealed the candies and biscuits have traces of formaldehyde, a harmful if not deadly substance if taken by humans.
White Rabbit candy (Photo from wikipedia)
White Rabbit Candy, Milk Candy, Bairong Grape Biscuit, and Yong Kang Grape Biscuit are just some of the food products from China that, according to the BFAD last month, had been shipped into the country without BFAD clearances. White Rabbit is the most popular candy in China and the only one said to be sold significantly outiside China.
Legaspi advised the public to refrain from buying products without BFAD’s approval markings.
According to news reports, many of the 180 Chinese companies are small and unlicensed and have used toxic ingredients such as formaldehyde and dyes in biscuits, candies and other small food items.
However, just how many of these harmful food products are smuggled into the Philippines and found its way into the market is yet to be determined. Smuggling of products from China is rampant in the Philippines.
Legaspi, meanwhile, clarified that only unregistered Chinese food, medicines and cosmetics pose risk to consumers.
Chinese foods in malls are registered by the BFAD, she said, as well as Chinese medicines sold in Chinese drug stores such as Farmacia Suy Hoo, which is licensed by BFAD to sell such products, Legaspi explained. (Tyrone A. Velez/davaotoday.com)Food