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City dad seeks probe, raps on tainted canned products

NAGA CITY --- A member of the city council here wants the full force of the law to fall on a junk shop owner who kept and sold a large inventory of canned goods that found tainted and expired when health and police personnel swooped down on the shop shortly after the typhoon last Dec. 5.

In a privilege speech delivered during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) on Tuesday, Dec. 10, City Councilor Joe Perez, a former editor of this paper, called for a full investigation of the incident and waged that appropriate charges be filed against the erring junk shop owner.

According to Perez, on Dec. 5, a team of sanitation officers and police personnel was sent by City Health Officer Vito Borja to a junkshop owned by one Edwin Dazal y Remondavia in Zone 7, Sitio San Rafael, Barangay Cararayan, this city.

The team seized boxes of canned goods spread all over the shop that were found to be unlabeled, expired, rusty, dented, and considered unfit for human consumption.

Confiscated were 223 sacks and 191 boxes of canned goods, mostly sardines that were found to be expired and tainted. The haul was loaded into a truck as the adulterated goods, except for some samples saved to serve as evidence in the future filing of a necessary case in court, were later ordered dumped in the San Isidro landfill for sanitation measure.

The seizure order was issued by Mayor Nelson Legacion to the city health officer who was instructed to investigate the source of adulterated canned goods that suspected to be the cause of food poisoning of two minor children last Nov. 25.

Perez, chairman of the Sanggunian Committee on Consumer Protection, said that it took time to effect the actual confiscation of the canned goods because a thorough investigation and due processes have to be followed.

Legacion said the junkshop owner was “in flagrante delicto for violating the provision of Republic Act No. 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines”, thus his order to cause the immediate seizure of the canned goods.

Article 10 of the Consumer Act provides that appropriate an order for recall, prohibition or seizure from public sale or distribution may be made if a consumer product is found to be injurious, unsafe or dangerous for human consumption.

Perez said there are appropriate legal actions against any violation of the provisions of the Consumer Act, especially those that endanger public health and safety. He said he would seek the assistance of concerned offices for the filing of the case against the seller of the seized adulterated and contaminated products, as well as redress for the victims of food poisoning.

He said a deeper investigation should also be conducted by concerned law enforcement bodies to determine where these expired and contaminated canned goods came from, “Certainly, we do not want this [incident] to happen again especially to the poor who takes advantage of the low price of expired but hazardous products,” Perez said.

He reiterated that consumer protection is a constitutional mandate. Article XVI, Section 9 of the Constitution provides that: “The State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products.” Hence, the Consumer Act of the Philippines with its punitive provisions.

TAINTED CANNED GOODS. Junk shop workers rummage through the huge pile of expired canned goods being sold to customers who come mostly from poor communities and those wanting to resell them for profit. PHOTO GRAB FROM CHO NAGA.

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