Press Release
April 22, 2015

Koko seeks probe on mounting food poisoning incidents

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has recently filed a senate resolution seeking an inquiry into mounting incidents of food poisoning, the most recent of which claimed the lives of two victims in Manila.

He said the Constitution provides that the State shall establish and maintain an effective food and drug regulatory system and undertake appropriate health measures to response to the people's health needs and problems.

Pimentel cited the Food Safety Act (RA 10611) that directs food business operators and food supply chain to prevent, eliminate or reduce risks to consumers and comply with other relevant food law requirements.

He said the law mandates local government units (LGUs) to be responsible for food safety in food business such as activities in slaughterhouses, dressing plants, fish ports, wet markets, supermarkets, school canteens, restaurants, catering establishments, and water-refilling stations, among others.

The LGUs, he said, are also responsible for the enforcement of the Code on Sanitation, food safety standards and food regulations where food is produced, processed, prepared and/or sold in their territorial jurisdiction.

He said the death of a tea house owner and customer after drinking a milk tea recently has raised alarm on the possible harmful contents or substances in food products used and the manner of food preparations in food outlets.

He said on June 20 last year, at least 130 people fell ill due to food poisoning in Tampakan, South Cotabato after eating food prepared by a caterer during a community meeting.

Previously, Pimentel noted, eleven South Korean nationals were rushed to a hospital in Iloilo city in another case of food poisoning in October 2013.

In the same year in September, he added, salmonella bacteria triggered the food poisoning of 66 people who ordered products of Dakasi Milk Tea outlet also in Iloilo City.

That incident was being blamed for the death of a 27-year old victim of food poisoning, he said.

In filing Senate Resolution No. 1273, Pimentel asked the Committees of Health and Local Government and other appropriate committees to conduct the investigation on the food poisoning incidents in aid of legislation.

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