Philippines bans Chinese sweets over food safety

MANILA Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:34am BST

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MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines' food and drugs agency has banned the distribution and sale of four Chinese food products, including candies and biscuits, due to concerns over food safety, officials said on Tuesday.

Leticia Barbara-Gutierrez, head of the Bureau of Foods and Drugs of the health department, said samples of the sweets were tested and found to contain harmful substances, such as formaldehyde.

Gutierrez issued an advisory on Monday asking the public to "refrain" from buying and consuming four Chinese-made products, including White Rabbit Creamy Candy, Milk Candy, Balron Grape Biscuits and Yong Kang Foods Grape Biscuits.

Importers and retailers were also asked to withdraw the items from the market until further notice.

Gutierrez said the health department has randomly selected Chinese food products for tests after China shut down 180 food factories found to have breached food safety regulations by mixing formaldehyde into products.

Gutierrez said some of these Chinese food products had no licensed distributors in the country and may had been smuggled into the country.

The Philippines has requested Beijing, through its embassy in Manila, to furnish the government a list of companies in China that had been shut down due to food safety concerns to protect Filipino consumers.

Revelations of tainted Chinese goods have grabbed global attention after patients in Panama died from toxic ingredients in medicine and pets died in the United States from substandard feed while tainted Chinese toothpaste was found elsewhere.

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