Davao health office asked to name tea shops displaying expired milk

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 April) – An owner of a milk tea shop has asked the City Health Office to make public the names of shops where it seized last week stocks of expired milk, saying such move has affected their business.

Cathy Binag, owner of Madhatter, said in a statement Thursday that the CHO’s move creates “confusion among the public and foments discrimination against those who are doing business with integrity and dedication to giving quality service and products to the public.”

“Needless to say, the refusal of the City Health Office to divulge the identities of these perfidious milk tea stores is affecting our business. This is a form of injustice,” Binag said.

She, however, lauded the city’s efforts to keep the industry in check.

Last week, the City Health Office confiscated 22 packs of powdered milk whose labels showed an expiry date of March 2015 from two tea shops at a mall after an inspection by its sanitation unit in malls all over the city.

According to sanitation chief Roberto Oconer, the CHO has submitted its letter to the City Licensing Office Thursday on whether charges will be filed against the owner of the milk shops.

Asked if the shopping mall would be liable, Oconer said it was no longer the mall owner’s responsibility.

He said the tea shops kept the milk on their shelves despite having a March expiration date.

While they were not serving the product, the storage of the expired item was already a violation of the sanitation code, he explained.

The official said his office conducted a massive inspection of different milk tea shops following a report from Manila of food poisoning which killed two persons and sent another to the hospital. One of the fatalities was the milk tea shops’ owner.

He said 26 of their inspectors checked different establishments, including the milk tea shops in huge malls and Chinese stores that are selling food products.

“These are very famous stores,” Oconer said.

The CHO also coordinated with the Food and Drug Administration, with mall managers already advised to supervise their tenants to augment the capacity of the city’s own inspectors.

The owner of a chain of milk tea franchises has scheduled to meet with the office to explain the incident.

Oconer said the operation began Monday last week and was still ongoing. (MindaNews)