Senate inquiry into food poisoning pushed

By , on April 17, 2015

Sen. Koko Pimentel. Photo courtesy of Pimentel's Facebook page.
Sen. Koko Pimentel. Photo courtesy of Pimentel’s Facebook page.

MANILA – Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III on Thursday filed a Senate resolution directing proper committee to investigate, in aid of legislation, the mounting food poisoning incidents, particularly the two people died after drinking milk tea.

”A massive inspection of all food outlets should be made by the Local Government Units (LGUs), Department of Health (DOH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent similar occurrence of food poisoning because of the contents of the food being prepared as well as the unhealthy conditions that attend to their preparation,” Pimentel said in his Senate Resolution No. 1273.

Pimentel said Republic Act No. 10611, otherwise known as the “Food Safety Act of 2013,” provides that food business operators shall ensure that food satisfies the requirements of food law relevant to their activities in the food supply chain.

”The control systems should be in place to prevent, eliminate or reduce risks to consumers,” Pimentel said.

Last April 9, the owner and the customer of the Ergo Chan Tea in Sampaloc, Manila died after drinking an odd-tasting milk tea. The customer’s companion, who took a sip of the milk tea, fell ill after taking a drink.

”Although the initial investigation of the DOH yielded negative results with respect to the presence of toxic substance in the milk tea sample, the incident still raised alarm on the possible harmful contents or substances in food products used and the manner of food preparations in food outlets,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel cited other food poisoning-related incidents including the 130 people who fell ill in Tampakan, South Cotabato after eating the food prepared by a caterer during a community meeting on June 30 last year.

In October 2013, eleven South Korean nationals were rushed to the hospital also in Iloilo City in another case of food poisoning.

In another case on Sept. 26, 2013, salmonella bacteria triggered the food poisoning of 66 people who ordered products of Dakasi Milk Tea outlet in Iloilo City. This incident is also being blamed for the death of a 27-year-old man in the same city.

In May 2012, fifty people in La Union that were hospitalized after eating food that was served at a wedding reception while 200 people in Bulacan that fell ill last June 2012 after eating at a birthday party, and another incident in 2012 wherein 21 youths who participated in the 1st Provincial Youth Summit were rushed to different hospitals in Butuan City after eating lunch served by an internationally known food chain.