Authorities seized over 300,000 kilos of expired fish, meat, and fruit worth P87 million at cold storage facilities in Navotas City.
The Department of Agriculture suspected that the expired items were still being sold as they inspected the facilities after receiving a tip that these allegedly stored smuggled products, Tina Panganiban-Perez reported on “24 Oras.”
“Sa amoy pa lang pagbukas ng cold storage, tumambad sa amin ang mga bulok na galunggong. Sa ibang storage sa facilities pa niya, ano naman, mga expired na karne ng baka at saka manok. 2022 pa siya expired,” said Dennis Solomon of the DA Inspectorate and Enforcement Office.
Following an investigation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), DA Inspectorate and Enforcement Office, and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), authorities inspected the 13 cold storage facilities along M. Naval Street in Navotas City.
“Magkahalong inis at saka yung lungkot, kung hindi nila balak ibenta yan, ‘yan ay itinapon na dapat. Wala na ‘yan dapat sa mga storage na ‘yan, hindi na gagastusan pa ‘yan ng kuryente,” said Solomon.
The facilities were sealed to prevent the release of the expired products, which would be burned or buried in the ground.
“‘Pag madurog mo, natimplahan mo, na-process mo, hindi na mahahalata. Kaya yon ang nakakatakot. Meron silang modus diyan na hinuhugasan. Huhugas para mawala yung amoy niya saka ire-rebox, relabel. Parang ire-repackage nila tapos may bago na siyang expiration date. Siguradong magdudulot sa mga kakain ng sakit. Ang worst doon is baka meron pang mga dangerous pathogens,” he added.
The products had several owners who were given 15 days to present the relevant documents.
They can be charged with violating the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act and the Food and Safety Act.
“Ang responsibilidad ninyo ay hindi lang para kumita kayo. Kailangan ding masiguro ninyo na ang kakain nito, which is ‘yung public, is safe,” Solomon said.
Meanwhile, the owner of the cold storage facilities was under investigation to see if he also violated the law.
“Maging mapanuri sa mga binibili nating produktong ganyan. ‘Yung mga iba na alam ninyo na expired na, wag na po ninyong bilhin,” Solomon advised the public. — Sherylin Untalan/DVM, GMA Integrated News