Executives and employees of a trading firm in the City of San Pedro in Laguna have been charged with violations of the Consumer Act of the Philippines and the Food Safety Act for allegedly altering the production and expiration dates of food products.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Officer-in-Charge Director Eric B. Distor said the complaints were filed against Indian nationals Jiten Lalwani and Naresh Kunmar, executives of Market Reach International Resources.
Also charged, Distor said, were the firm’s Manager Argel Joseph Jarasa and Production Supervisor Bernard Bonina.
In a statement, the NBI said that “those FDA (Food and Drug Administration) officials and employees in these illegal activities shall be charged before the Office of the Ombudsman.”
The NBI statement, however, did not disclose the names of the FDA officials and employees allegedly involved.
It said the NBI’s Task Force Against Illegal Drugs (NBI-TFAID) conducted an operation against the firm last June 4 and served a search warrant.
The NBI said: “During the service of warrant, the operatives caught the workers of Market Reach in the act of altering production and expiry dates of food items. Inspection showed that the expiration date was erased and replaced with a new printed expiry date and production date.”
“The operation also resulted in the seizure of boxes of various consumer food products being sold by the company, newly issued FDA License to Operate as distributor/importer/exporter/wholesaler; FDA License to operate as Cosmetic importer/exporter/wholesaler; business permits and Export Documents,” it said.
It added that during the operation, “FDA personnel intentionally denied NBI-TFAID agents’ access notwithstanding the prior agreement of joint operation by the two agencies.”