FDA finds molds in chewing gum

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30 downed after eating palabok in a birthday party in Albay
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan: The Food and Drug Administration-Center for Food Regulation and Research (FDA-CFRR) found molds in a sample of chewing gum, suspected to be behind the food poisoning of over a hundred school children in San Carlos City, Pangasinan last July 2.

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According to the CFRR Alert Reporting System (CARES), the FDA as relayed by Food and Drug Regulation Officer III Purisima Lozano, the Mentos chewing gum sample, upon inspection, was “found with molds, melted, and with damaged packaging.”

Lozano, speaking before the provincial board on Monday, said “traceability information like lot number and expiration date” of the product was removed.

It can be recalled that last July 2, at least 111 of the Guilew Integrated School in San Carlos City were rushed to the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital (PPH) and six others at the Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation Medical Center, both at San Carlos City, due to food poisoning allegedly caused by Mentos Fruity Fresh 3D-Layers chewing gum.

In a separate incident, at least 30 people in Albay were hospitalized due to food poisoning after eating palabok during a birthday party in Ligao City on Monday.

The victims who attended the party fell ill, complaining of loose bowel movement and vomiting, after eating palabok reportedly bought at an establishment along McKinley Street in Ligao City.

The youngest victim of food poisoning was an 11-month old baby and the oldest was an 88 years old, according to a public health physician in Albay.

Reports said that victims of food poisoning were rushed to Josefina Belmonte Duran Memorial District Hospital and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City for medical treatment.

Albay governor Joey Salceda immediately directed public health physician chief Na-thanial Rempillo and the Albay Health Emergency and Medical team of the provincial health office to look into the cause of food poisoning.

Rempillo said that his office will come out with an official incident finding after a thorough examination. The Albay Provincial Health Office reported that patients are now in stable condition after being treated in the government hospitals.

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