Makati canteen shut; FDA checks what made kids ill
The school canteen of Gen. Pio Del Pilar Elementary School in Makati City was ordered closed by the city government as officials began testing food samples to determine the cause of the poisoning that sent 133 pupils to the hospital Thursday.
Mayor Romulo Peña on Friday said the Makati Health Department (MHD) had issued a cease and desist order on the canteen, where samples of biscuits, flavored drinks, “tikoy” (fried cake), polvoron and brownies were taken and turned over to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for analysis.
Initial investigation showed that the most of the students fell ill after eating chocolate-flavored Rebisco biscuits which canteen personnel had delivered to their classrooms. They complained of severe abdominal pain, headache, dizziness and vomiting after eating the snack.
But MHD doctors maintained they would not speculate on the cause, citing the ongoing probe. MHD officer in charge Dr. Bernard Sese said vomit specimens also sent for examination, with the results expected to be released after a week.
According to Sese, the canteen’s permit to operate was valid and updated while its water safety certificate was issued just last month.
The school principal, Allan Arcilla, noted that the packaging of the biscuits given to the pupils indicated that the product would be expiring in “April 2016.” He pointed this out in response to parents who earlier claimed that the packaging either had no expiry date or that the date had been erased.
The FDA will also coordinate with the local health offices of Manila and Pasay cities since the Makati school’s suppliers are based in these areas.
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