Authorities inspect ErgoCha tea house anew, get more samples
AFTER the Department of Health found that the milk tea that killed two people was not laced with any toxic substance, members of the joint agencies inspected anew on Monday the now shuttered establishment in Manila.
Members of the DOH, Food and Drug Administration and Manila Police’s scene of the crime operatives opened the ErgoCha tea house along Bustillos Street in Sampaloc to get more milk tea specimens for further testing.
Authorities, however, had to ask a welder to force open the establishment, which was beside a welding shop, and break the lock with an angle grinder.
Dr. Benjamin Yuson, acting Manila City health officer, told reporters that initially, the family of the late owner, William Abrigo, resisted their request for inspection.
“They lost their key so with the full consent of the family and their lawyer, we are here now. Walang conflict. They just simply lost their access to the store,” he said.
Abrigo and Suzaine Dagohoy died after taking a sip of the “Hokkaido”-flavored milk tea the latter and her boyfriend Arnold Aydalla ordered at the store last Thursday morning.
Abrigo collapsed after he tasted himself the milk tea he prepared for Dagohoy, who fell unconscious after complaining that the drink was foul-tasting.
Aydalla also took a sip but he immediately spat it out. He was rushed to the hospital while Abrigo died some three minutes after tasting the milk tea.
Dagohoy was declared dead two hours after the store owner died. Aydalla is currently in stable condition.
“We are looking at this in a sense that is this deliberate or unintentional or an accident? The MPD is doing this to ascertain whether there is criminal liability here on the part of owners,” Aydalla said.
Earlier Monday, the DOH announced that no toxic substance – not even cyanide as speculated – was detected in any of the milk samples the Manila Police District gave to the FDA.
After the preliminary test results, Health Secretary Janette Garin said that they will include blood, gastric and tissue samples obtained from the victims to determine the cause of their deaths.
This was contrary to the autopsy report of the MPD on Dagohoy which said that she died due to “shock secondary to ingestion of toxic substance.”
Yuson supported Garin’s claim that the fatal incident is “more likely an isolated” one, appealing to the public not to generalize the situation that could affect the sale of milk tea.
“The people should not really be concerned with the milk tea business. The products are safe as long as they come up with reputable milk tea distributors,” he said. AC
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