EcoWaste Coalition Pushes LGUs to Enforce the Food Safety Act Amid Poisoning Incidents

The wave of food poisoning cases involving close
to 300 child victims from Pangasinan to Davao should drive local government
units (LGUs) into fast tracking the implementation of Republic Act 10611, or
the Food Safety Act of 2013, in their respective jurisdictions.
The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watchdog group for public health and the
environment, made a pitch for the urgent localization of R.A. 10611 after
monitoring food poisoning incidents that downed children, mostly from public
schools, from June 7 to July 3, 2015.
“In just 27 days, 287 children fell sick after consuming foods that were either
adulterated, contaminated or past their expiration date,” noted Thony Dizon,
Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“That’s over 10 pediatric food poisoning cases per day.  Luckily, there
were no reported fatalities,” he pointed out.
The spate of food poisoning incidents should serve as a wake-up call to LGUs on
the urgency of putting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A.
10611 into force, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
The Department of Agriculture and Department of Health promulgated the law’s
IRR on February 20, 2015.
Under Rule 15, “the LGUs shall be responsible for the implementation of the
food safety requirements of foods produced within their areas of jurisdiction,
includ(ing) primary, postharvest, processed and prepackaged foods marketed in traditional markets as well as restaurants and
school canteens, catered foods, street vended, and/or ambulant-vended foods.”
“While the enabling city or municipal ordinances are being prepared, we appeal
to all food business operators to adhere to basic food safety requirements and
controls to protect consumers from food
poisoning,” Dizon said.
Citing published stories, the group noted that 36 pupils of Doongan Elementary
School were rushed to the Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital on July 3 for
food poisoning due to the consumption of expired chocolate candies.
Prior to this latest incident, 114 students from Guelew Elementary School in
San Carlos City were brought to the
Pangasinan Provincial Hospital  and the Virgen Milagrosa Medical Center on
July 2 after consuming expired fruit-flavored chewing gum.
On June 19, 17 students from Don Francisco S. Dizon Elementary School in Davao
City fell ill after drinking a suspected contaminated fruit shake.
On June 10, 41 students from Man-uling Elementary School in Cauayan, Negros
Occidental experienced food poisoning after eating a local donut called
“bitchokoy” sprinkled with sugar that had oxalic acid, a bleaching agent, mixed in it.
On June 7, 79 kids at the Manila Boystown Complex in Marikina City were
admitted at the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center after consuming spoiled
boiled eggs and hotdogs.
“With support from the lead national government agencies, we expect all LGUs to
rise to the challenge of protecting their constituents, particularly the young
children, against poisoning risks from  unsafe foods ,” Dizon said.


R.A. 10611:

Butuan Case:

Davao Case:

Negros Occidental Case:

Pangasinan Case:

Marikina City Case: