Davao milk tea shop volunteers to close shop temporarily

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 May) – One of the milk tea shops identified as allegedly storing expired ingredients at their branch in SM Lanang has reportedly volunteered to temporarily close shop to check its own inventory, according to an official of the City Health Office.

Speaking at Thursday’s iSpeak forum, sanitation chief Robert Oconer said the shop, which he did not name, would close its branch for one week to make sure that there would be no repeat of the incidence of allegedly storing expired milk tea ingredients.

Oconer said the role of the CHO in the case is over, and the next move is up to the City Administrator’s Office.

Earlier this week, the City Legal Office has suggested three different legal actions on the case of Happy Lemon and 360, regarding their alleged storage of expired ingredients, in a memo released to the media.

The memo, signed by lawyers Janis Louis Esparcia and CLO acting chief Osmundo Villanueva Jr. and dated May 8, said the City Health Office may issue a sanitary order citing the specific corrective measures and remedial actions.

The CHO, through its sanitation and environment division, had already done this through an inspection report furnished to the proprietors of the two shops in April.

According to the CHO, only one of the shops was cooperative, with 360 submitting to the order of the inspectors and Happy Lemon refusing to surrender all of its packs to the city government.

The CLO added that aside from its problems with the sanitary permit, the erring establishment may also face a revocation of its mayor’s permit for a violation of the revenue code.

The office also said Happy Lemon could be held liable under Republic Act 10611, or the Food Safety Act of 2013, which prohibits the use of expired ingredients.

“Said law provides one definition of adulteration as the use of expired ingredients,” the legal opinion wrote.

Happy Lemon, in a statement sent earlier this week, said the said packs of Jasmine Green Tea leaves were already “scheduled for pull out” and that there was a confusion in the method of disposal of the items.

City administrator Melchor Quitain said Monday he has already sent a memo to the Business Bureau and the CLO to come up with remedies “so that things like this will not happen again.”

Quitain said the city government’s next move would depend on the recommendations of the CLO.