FDA asks LGUs to crackdown on unregistered ‘lambanog’

Marje Pelayo   •   December 24, 2019   •   246

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)

FDA issues health warning vs lollipop brand over unauthorized use of condom foil packs as wrapper

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 12, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns the public against the purchase and consumption of unregistered Dipzy Cornpop Lollipops.

The said Dipzy Cornpop Lollipops under the company MM Lucky Multisales Corporation has unauthorized use of Durex condom foil packaging as lollipop wrapper.

“The FDA was notified by the company Baranda & Associates that Durex condom foil packaging is being used as lollipop wrapper by the company MM Marketing reflected on its label,” according to the FDA advisory.

“The FDA verified that the above mentioned food products are not authorized and the Certificates of Product Registration have not been issued,” the advisory further reads.

Concerned establishments are also warned not to distribute the said food products.—AAC

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

Toxic level of methanol found in ‘lambanog’ samples from Laguna

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Samples of distilled coconut sap locally known as ‘lambanog’ from three stores in Rizal, Laguna have tested positive of having up to 11% to 18% methanol content.

This was revealed from the results of the laboratory tests conducted by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) following a series of methanol poisoning in Laguna and Quezon that claimed the lives of 15 individuals and endangered several others.

The samples acquired were from the brands, Rey Lambanog, Emma’s Lambanog, and the one being sold by Orlando Mapa Store.

FDA said such level of methanol in alcoholic beverages is highly toxic for human consumption because the normal level should not exceed 1% to be safe.

“Kasi nga nagfo-form ng acid sa katawan ang methanol dahil hindi siya nada-digest ng ating atay. At kapag tuloy- tuloy maaari talagang ikamatay,” explained FDA Officer in Charge Eric Domingo.

Domingo added that excessive consumption of methanol can damage a person’s digestive system and may cause blindness as it also targets the optic nerves.

Study reveals that once ingested, the human body changes methanol into formaldehyde and formic acid.

A buildup of formic acid inside the human body causes serious damage in the body’s central nervous system.

In the case of lambanog, consumption of at least 30ml with such high level of methanol is definitely fatal.

Because of the recent methanol poisoning, the FDA is requiring all manufacturers of alcoholic drinks to secure a license to operate and a certificate of product registration to ensure proper product handling and preparation before they go out in the market.

“May mga produkto kasi na high risk, kasama itong ating mga alcoholic beverage na kung maaari po huwag na tayong bibili at iinom ng mga hindi rehistrado sa FDA (Some products are considered high risk such as these alcoholic beverages. As much as possible, we discourage consumers to purchase and drink products which are not FDA registered),” Domingo advised.

“Kasi ibig sabihin hindi natin namo- monitor ito. Hindi natin alam kung saan gawa, kung paano gawa at mahirap po nating mabigyan ng assurance ng safety ang publiko, (Because without it, we cannot monitor as to where the product is being manufactured or how it is made. It would be impossible for us to provide the public the assurance of product safety),” he added.

The FDA reiterates that consumers must purchase only those food products and beverages licensed and approved by the agency. – MNP (with details from Aiko Miguel)

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