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Inspection for Chinese sweets held

The Department of Trade and Industry, together with the Bacolod City Market Coordinating and Monitoring Task Force inspected six establishments in Bacolod City Thursday for Chinese food products reported to contain formaldehyde. The DTI and the task force headed by Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Ernie Pineda, found White Rabbit candies displayed at the KJ Fairmart in Luzuriaga Street and the management was advised by Reginald Hudierez of the DTI to pull out the products from their establishment, and they readily complied.

The Bureau of Food and Drugs under the Department of Health issued a warning Tuesday against several food products manufactured in China.

DOH-BFAD director Leticia Barbara Gutierrez, in an advisory dated July 17, 2007, warned the public against several imported Chinese food products that are offered for wholesale or retail after samples of these collected from the markets tested positive for formaldehyde tainting.

Formaldehyde is used in resin production and is well known as a preservative and embalming fluid.

Guiterrez directed importers/distributors and other establishments selling these Chinese food products to withdraw them from the market until there are evidences showing that the safety of the subject goods is assured and they are fit for human consumption.

Pineda said they were not able to find any of the products cited by the BFAD as unsafe for consumption in other stores they inspected like Novo, Portia Store, Shimarros, Gaisano and Green Thumb Marketing.

He said his team will continue to conduct their price monitoring task but will report to the DTI any of the Chinese products cited by the BFAD in case they find these still being sold. DTI provincial caretaker Lea Gonzales wrote Pineda yesterday expressing their appreciation for the assistance extended to them by the monitoring team of the city.

Pineda said they were requested by the DTI to assist in monitoring the Chinese products cited by BFAD to be unsafe for consumption.

These products include White Rabbit creamy candy, Milk Candy, Bairong Grape Biscuits and Yong Kang Grape Biscuits.

But the company behind White Rabbit Creamy Candy said independent tests it commissioned after reports of the ban first emerged showed zero formaldehyde content.

Shanghai-based Guan Sheng Yuan Co. said that, at no point during the manufacturing of the White Rabbit milk candy are preservatives added, in a statement posted on its Website Wednesday.

It also said samples of the candy were sent to the lab for testing and that rivals have made numerous counterfeit versions of the popular candy.

The company also called the Philippine Food and Drug Bureau "irresponsible" for not checking the candy's authenticity and threatened to sue it.

Source: Visayan Daily Star

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