Customs asked to block frozen foods from Japan

Posted at 01/19/14 2:20 PM

MANILA -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked the help of the Bureau of Customs to block the entry of frozen products, such as croquettes, packaged by a company in Japan.

Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag said the products of Maruha Nichiro Holdings were already banned in Japan “but with sizeable quantities still not yet recovered after company issued a recall notice. This is both a precautionary and a preemptive measure.”

In an advisory, FDA acting director general Kenneth Hartigan Go said the products were reportedly contaminated with malathion pesticide.

“The Health Ministry in Japan had been quoted to have confirmed 556 people setting sick after eating Maruha products. Estimates of the number of people affected, however, vary. Public broadcaster NHK reported that its tally has reached around 1,700 people. Kyodo News agency put the number at 1,400. Earlier report of NHK, however, said that information from local governments showed 356 people were affected,” he said.

Based on records, there is no FDA-licensed distributor importing the products and the products themselves are also not registered with the FDA, Go noted.

“All field Food and Drug Regulation Officers are now conducting investigation if the said food products may have entered the country illegally and are now being sold or offered for sale in groceries and supermarket all over the country. They are hereby ordered to confiscate all unregistered processed food products from Japan in outlets or in possession by individuals,” he said.

Go also asked all local government units, supermarkets and groceries to help in disseminating the advisory.