No longer their cup of milk tea

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Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno padlocks a milk tea store for violating safety rules.

Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno padlocks a milk tea store for violating safety rules.

The death of two persons from apparent milk tea poisoning has cast doubt on the safety of the country’s food and beverage industry and this may lead to the demise of the once booming milk tea business.

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On April 9, three people were rushed to the Ospital ng Sampaloc after drinking chilled Hokaidou milk tea at the Ergo Cha, a roadside stall in Sampaloc, Manila. Two of them died—Suzanne Dagohoy, 28 and William Abrigo, 57, owner of the milk tea store.

Dagohoy’s boyfriend, Arnold Aydalla, 34, collapsed after taking a sip of the milk tea but he survived.

The Department of Health said the incident was an “isolated case” but this served little to assure the public that it is safe to drink milk tea. Health Secretary Janette Garin had said initial tests of the milk tea sample proved negative for toxic chemicals.

Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno made rounds of milk tea stalls as well as other food and beverage establishments in Manila to ensure that these establishments are complying with health and food safety regulations.

But while authorities scrambled to rescue the milk tea stall businesses from the stigma generated by the deaths in Sampaloc, customers have started avoiding the beverage.

“Our sales are down 60 percent since the reports on the milk tea deaths,” Lourdes Deyto, a retiree who owns four stalls selling ChDo, one of several milk tea brands, told The Manila Times.

Deyto, who had been selling ChDo milk tea since 2012, bewailed that a franchise business with strict safety standards can suffer from an apparent lapse.

“The milk tea that is purchased from the stalls, at least in our case, is made from actual tea leaves that we boil ourselves, after that, we add sugar, flavoring and other ingredients that are pre-packed by the franchise operator and adjusted to the taste of the customer,” she explained.

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TJ Bagadion, who had used her savings to put up a ChDo franchising business, said sales across their several dozen outlets are also reeling from the poisoning reports.

The milk tea beverage franchising business made a big splash when it entered the Philippine market in 2005 from Taiwan. The product is similar, but different from the pearl shake drinks that also use tapioca pearls, commonly known in the Philippines as “sago.”

It caught on with the Filipinos’ love for cold drinks especially during the hot summer months.

Bagadion said when milk tea entered the market, they thought the fad would not last.

But she noted that it would reach a point where people would die.

“I am now contemplating selling the shop, in case anyone is interested in buying it,” she said.

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7 Comments

  1. No they are not urinating milk tea & it wasnt the milk tea that killed someone or a few germs from poor hygene as that will give you dysentry. There was some substance used to kill those people something like cyanide which acts so quickly, but it hasnt been detected in the dead & it hasnt been found in the tea shop but it was definately somthing. The tea shop should have immediately been closed off as a crime scene & people should have been there instantly to take samples of everything, its only the incompetence of these officials that that wasnt done, but hey tell me of any competent officials here as i very rarely see it.

  2. eltee mulawin on

    >>> To Mr . Gilbert P. Felongco -reporter of this news, TILA MAYROON KULANG SA BALITANG ITO. MAY ILANG KATANUNGAN NA HINDI NAITANONG SA MANILA VICE MAYOR. VERY STRANGED,ONE OF THE VICTIMS IS THE OWNER OF THE STORE, WHILE THE MILK TEA WAS NEGATIVE OF TOXIC ACCORDING TO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. The question…
    1). Nasaanan ang ginamit na baso o lalagyan at straw ng mga biktima?
    2). Nasuri o pinasuri kaagad ba ni Vice Mayor sa BFAD at NBI ang mga baso o lalagyan at straw ng mga biktima upang malaman at ma-trace kung may lason o chemical,tulad ng cyanide- which in a seconds could killed a person once it is mixed in a any food, drinks or cigarrete or inhaled.
    3). Bakit kaagad isinara ang tindahan, kung hindi naman ginawa ang ganoon pagsusuri o investigasyon?
    4). Iniaalis kaagad nila ang “savotage theory or liquidation theory and conspiracy?”

    THIS IS NOT JUST A SIMPLE AS LIKE THAT, PERSONS SUDDENLY DIED BECAUSE OF DRINKING MILK TEA , BUT THE MILK TEA IS NEGATIVE OF TOXIC CHMEICALS.

    REMEMBER THAT MILK TEA FRANCHISED BUSINESS IS ONE THE FAST AND TREND OF THE MIDDLE CLASS BUSINESS GROUP OF PEOPLE. AT MATINDI ANG KOMPITISYON.

    In this case it seems the national government idiotic and incompetence system had already shared and influence the local government.

  3. It isnt just in food stores or tea rooms or in fact any business in the philippines. Take jeepney drivers, tricycle drivers & van drivers, when they need to urinate they stop anywhere get out & urinate up a wall or a tree. They never wash their hands after. It makes me shudder.

  4. The FDA is extremely corrupt. List of people at the FDA and DOH who are corrupt: Sec. Garin, Dr. Miriam Sales, Atty. Lutero III, Jesusa Cirunay, Dr. Peter Glenn Chua, Agnette Peralta, MArivic Paulino, Atty. Jasper Lascano and Atty. Emilio Polig and former employees: Sec. Ona, FDA chief Suzette Lazo, FDA chief Kenneth Hartigan-Go! are extremely corrupt!
    Wicked_Lia(r) said, ” mukhang kilala mo ang mga tao sa FDA aH!
    nakakatransaksyones mo ba?
    lahat naman ng ahensya may mga BULOK……..”
    Yan na! Inamin ng corrupt silang mga N0ytard at MARnanakaw!

  5. Isko, you do know that the FDA is extremely corrupt, right? They won’t process your papers until you give them money!