DAVAO CITY: The operations of Wendy’s Durian Candy have been ordered stopped by the city government of Davao after it was found out that it was not registered with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
Health department officials also said results of laboratory tests done on candy samples would be released on Wednesday. Based on the initial assessment, the cause of the poisoning could have been a form of bacteria and not chemicals.
A team from Davao City’s Business Bureau shut down the operations of the candy factory that allegedly produced the owner of the durian and mangosteen candies that poisoned around 2,000 students in Caraga region last week.
The team cited the failure of the company to abide by the 2005 Local Revenue Code, which states that all establishments are to secure the necessary permits and registrations from concerned agencies including the Department of Health (DOH). The FDA is a line agency of the health department.
Acting Mayor Paolo Duterte said the local government is looking after the health of the general public when he ordered the suspension of operations.
“They must cease from manufacturing these candies while the investigation is being done,” he added.
As of July 12, 2015 there were 1,925 cases of food poisoning and 66 of the victims are still confined in various hospitals. It was also noted that majority of the victims were 10-14 years old and that 64 percent of them were female.
A team from the DOH’s Epidemiology department gathered samples of the alleged poisonous candies for testing.
“From our assessment, although this is not yet conclusive pending the results of the lab exams, the incident was more bacterial than chemical,” said Dr. Jerry Irizzari, Surigao del Sur Provincial Physician.
He confirmed that over 1,500 students showed symptoms of poisoning after eating the durian and mangosteen candies supposedly manufactured by Wendy’s Durian Candy.
In a press conference on Monday, Dr. Ma. Lourdes Santiago, FDA acting deputy director, said that full details of their findings will probably be out by Wednesday.
“With regards to the laboratory analysis, it is still ongoing. Hopefully we can provide the results by Wednesday afternoon,” she said.
Santiago said they are first limiting the analysis into the possibility of microbial contamination such as staphylococcus aureus, salmonella or E. coli bacteria.
The possibility that the candies consumed were already expired will also form part of the investigation as well as the possibility of “repackaging” which could have resulted to food poisoning.
Meanwhile, the camp of Pastor Apollo Quiboloy remains mum after the group’s name figured in the incident. Some of the suspects arrested by police used a van, which was allegedly owned by Quiboloy, when they sold the poisonous candies.