Brewer tagged in ‘poisoning’ taps third-party labs to test banned Carabao Cosmic Gin

Robie de Guzman   •   July 19, 2019   •   2493

Cosmic Carabao | Courtesy: Juan Brew Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The manufacturer of the recently recalled Cosmic Carabao Gin said it is now investigating reports of alleged methanol poisoning and has tapped third-party laboratories to test the craft gin.

“This is to determine any possible issue in the production of the Cosmic Carabao Gin,” Juan Brew said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered the seizure and confiscation as well as the banning of the clear liquid craft gin after gin samples collected and subjected to analysis were found positive for methanol.

The order was issued following reported incidents involving two women who fell ill shortly after allegedly consuming the said gin. The victims were rushed to separate hospitals where one of them reportedly died.

READ: FDA orders seizure, warns public of cosmic carabao gin

Methanol, according to the FDA, is a widely available chemical that has many industrial applications. It is also found in household products and fuel for aircraft.

Although it can occur naturally, the agency said, high concentrations of methanol could mean adulteration of the product.

The FDA also warned the public against the consumption of the said product as “this is currently unregistered and has been confirmed to contain a high level of methanol.”

But Juan Brew insists the company has been registered with the FDA since 2016 and its License to Operate is valid until 2023.

“Since 2016, the Company was granted ten individual Certificates of Product Registration (CPRs) for several varieties of beverages and not a single complaint was brought to our attention since then,” it said.

It also stressed it is aware of the unverified reports on social media about a case of methanol poisoning involving its product and that it has coordinated with the FDA probe.

“We assure the public that JBI is exerting all efforts to coordinate and cooperate with the FDA and other relevant agencies,” the brewer said.

“In the meantime, JBI has recalled Cosmic Carabao and has suspended the distribution thereof. Rest assured, JBI is continuously dedicated in creating quality products with equal regard for consumer health,” it added.

US bans fruit, mint vaping cartridges to curb youth use

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020

Washington – The United States Food and Drug Administration on Thursday banned the sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes, including fruit and mint, in an attempt to reduce their use among children and youth.

The decision, in which companies have 30 days to cease manufacture, distribution and sales, aims to reduce the “troubling epidemic” among youth, although for some sectors it is seen as a step back from the original plan of the President Donald Trump administration to ban all flavors.

“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in the FDA statement.

On September 11 last year, Azar announced that the Trump administration planned to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes except tobacco after the first deaths linked to their use were made public.

At that time, Trump, in statements from the Oval Office with Azar and other officials, said that vaping is a problem that especially affects “innocent children.”

In October, Juul, the largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes in the US, announced it was suspending sales of most of its flavors in the country ahead of the ban, although it anticipated that it would continue to manufacture tobacco and menthol flavors.

The same month, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering allowing the sale of some flavors so as not to put at risk the re-election of Trump, whose campaign team has warned of the electoral impact that the plan to ban all flavored e-cigarettes would have amid possible job losses and voter backlash.

The report said Trump’s campaign chief Brad Parscale warned that the plan to reduce vaping among young people could hurt Trump in the 2020 election.

Groups working in the industry also created a pushback campaign called #IvapeIVote and #WeVapeWeVote.

In its statement, the FDA cited federal survey data to show that young people are particularly attracted to flavors such as fruit and mint, more so than to tobacco or menthol.

According to local media, 55 people have died across 27 states due to a lung illness linked to vaping. EFE-EPA

lb/tw

FDA asks LGUs to crackdown on unregistered ‘lambanog’

Marje Pelayo   •   December 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines –  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking local government units (LGUs) to enforce strict regulation against purchase and consumption of distilled coconut sap locally known as ‘lambanog.’

The request comes after reports that drinking lambanog with high content of methanol caused the deaths of 11 individuals in Laguna and Quezon.

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hereby warns the public on the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages that have not undergone the safety evaluation of this agency,” the FDA said in its advisory.

“All Local Government Units and Law Enforcement Agencies are requested to ensure that these products are not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction,” the agency further said.

According to FDA: “Ingestion of product with an elevated amount of methanol poses serious adverse effects such as blindness, permanent neurologic dysfunction, and even death.”

On Monday (December 23), Mayor Vener Muñoz of Rizal, Laguna declared a state of emergency in his town to address the situation.

Muñoz ordered all individuals who have taken the concerned brand of lambanog to subject themselves into medical consultation.

Among them were Francisco and Delia who rushed to the center to verify their condition.

“Magsisiguro lang kami na makaligtas, (We just want to confirm to be safe,)” said Francisco Solqua.

“Ang balita ko walo na, siempre nenerbyusin ka at walo na ang namatay, (We heard in the news that eight already died and that worries us,)” he added.

“Gusto lang naming magpa-checkuo kasi nakainom kami noon, (We wanted to be checked because we, too, have taken it,)” Delia Monserat said.

Based on the record of the Rizal Municipal Health Office, they already have more than 300 patients under observation.

Symptoms of poisoning manifested among the victims include severe stomach pain, blurring vision, nausea and vomiting after drinking lambanog, according to Rizal MHO Administrative Officer John Michael Gangay.

“Based doon sa findings ng PGH sa ilan na dinala duon may nag-positive sa methanol intoxification, (Based on the findings of the [Philippine General Hospital] from those who were brought there, they were positive of methanol intoxification,)” Gangay said.

The municipal government has already ordered a temporary ban on sale and purchase of Lambanog.

“Kahit kami ay nabigla. Hindi namin alam na may mangyayaring ganito sa bayan namin, (We were also surprised that something like this happened to our place,)” said Antonio Aurello, Rizal Vice Mayor.

“We are doing our best para ma-extend ang tulong sa aming mga kababayan, (help to our kababayans.)” he added.

The Rizal PNP already seized all available supply from the store in Barangay Pook where the victims bought the lambanog while an investigation is ongoing.

“Iimbestigahan natin ito ng mabuti at posibleng magsampa tayo ng demanda laban sa may ari ng Rey Lambanog na si Mr. Fred Rey, (We will investigate this thoroughly and possibly we will file charges against the owner of Rey Lambanog, Mr. Fred Rey,)” explained Police Capt. Lindley Tibuc, the Chief of Rizal Police, said.

“Posibleng madamay ang kaniyang anak na nakapangalan sa DTI, (His son might be implicated because of the registered name in the DTI,)” the official added.

The manufacturer who is based in San Juan, Batangas has already ordered a recall of the lambanog from all its traders.

The supplier will face charges of negligence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries.

A similar case of lambanog poisoning was reported in December 2018 where 10 persons died in Laguna, Quezon and Bulacan.

The FDA, meanwhile, advises the public to exercise extreme caution in purchasing and consuming unregistered alcoholic beverages.

As of press time, only 14 brands of lambanog have certification from FDA.

“Retail outlets, and other dealers of alcoholic beverages, are warned against the sale of unregistered products which is a violation of the FDA Act of 2009 and the Food Safety Act of 2013,” the agency said – MNP (with inputs fro Sherwin Culubong)

DOH warns public against unregistered medical devices in online shops

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 4, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) has warned the public against unregistered medical devices that are being sold in online shops.

This includes wound dressing and gauze without a certificate of product registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

DOH Health Regulation Team Assistant Secretary Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande has advised that the public should verify they are buying from a legitimate medical supplier or pharmacy when buying medical supplies, devices, and medicines.

Grande also said that pharmacies should also get a license for online ordering.

“Pharmacies should get license for online ordering so people can order medicines from them online [but] it’s for pick-up and not for delivery,” she said.

The FDA already released an advisory to the public to refrain from buying unregistered medical devices online.

“Pursuant to the Republic Act No. 9711, otherwise known as the “Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009”, the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of health products without the proper authorization is prohibited,” the advisory reads.

The FDA assures violators will face regulatory actions and sanctions.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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