FDA cites PNP partnership

FDA cites PNP partnership

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) recently lauded its partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP), saying the tie-up has “resulted in a series of successful law enforcement operations”.

FDA Director-General Nela Charade Puno said the successful operations “proved that the move on the part of the FDA to seek the help and support of the PNP has been timely and wise”.

Puno’s statement came in the wake of reports that the joint FDA-PNP operations led to the discovery and seizure of nearly P500 thousand worth of nearly-expired food items being sold at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall. Puno proposed the partnership in law enforcement to the PNP when she was appointed to the FDA post late last year. The partnership, according to Puno, is meant to address the proliferation of unregistered, misbranded or fake food, cosmetic and health products in the local market.

 Puno also said the FDA-PNP law enforcement tie-up “partly solved the FDA’s perennial problem of lack of funds to beef up its law enforcement capabilities”.

“Instead of worrying about our lack of funds, we saw the tie-up with the PNP as a solution,” Puno earlier said.

The raid of the combined FDA and PNP elements was led by retired Police Chief Superintendent Allen Bantolo, head of the FDA Regulatory Enforcement Unit (REU).

According to Bantolo, the raid was conducted following reports and complaints from the customers of the outlet who said alleged that they have bought food items including imported chocolate candies that were due to expire in a matter of days.

Bantolo noted that the almost-expiring products were bundled in packages that made it difficult for buyers to scrutinize the expiration dates. Bantolo pointed out that the practice “exposes consumers of such products to possible health risks” and may possibly constitute a violation of Republic Act 3720, or the law which “ensures the safety and purity of food, health, and cosmetic products being sold to the public”. 

Bantolo also said consumers who have complained to the FDA related that they “felt cheated” when they discovered after purchase that the goods they bought will expire in a few days.

Many of those who brought the matter to the attention of the FDA were families of overseas Filipino workers who usually shop at the duty-free outlets when they come home, Bantolo noted.

Bantolo advised consumers to make sure they check the indicated expiration dates on the labels of food, health and cosmetic items they buy from various outlets.

“We have strict consumer protection laws in this country that prohibit the sale of goods beyond their expiry or expirations dates,” Bantolo added.

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