An inter-agency task force will be formed to investigate the suspected smuggled carrots spotted in Divisoria, Manila in the past few days, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Monday, Sept. 27.
Agriculture Spokesperson Noel Reyes bared in a televised briefing that the department along with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) will launch an investigation over the alleged smuggling of fresh carrots that found their way to Manila’s key market.
“Unang una, wala pong fresh vegetables na binibigyan ng permit mula sa ibang bansa, kasama na ang China, kasama na rito yung fresh carrots. So ang binibigyan lang po ng permit ang Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) ay frozen, mixed vegetables, at processed (First of all, there is no permit given to fresh vegetables, including fresh carrots, from other countries like China. The BPI only issued permit to frozen mixed, and processed vegetables),” Reyes said.
“So, again we’re saying na smuggled po ‘yan at magkakaroon ng (and there will be a) joint task force. Iimbestigahan po ‘yan ng DA, DTI, BOC, at BIR ‘yan pong mga reported na presence ng fresh carrots sa Divisoria (The reported presence of fresh carrots in Divisoria will be investigated by the DA, DTI, BOC, and BIR),” the assistant secretary added.
The Agriculture official explained that if foreign fresh carrots are seen in local markets that could only mean that it is smuggled because only those that are frozen, mixed, and processed are allowed, which are usually used in embassies and hotels.
Smuggled agricultural goods, including carrots, are not allowed to enter the local markets due to possible harms it can cause to consumers, Reyes explained.
“Bawal po talaga ay dahil ‘yan po ay wala sa ating food security regulation. Hindi natin alam kung may peste o may sakit at merong mga pesticide residue level (That is really prohibited because it is not included in our food security regulation. We do not know if it is infested or its pesticide residue level),” he said.
Smuggled agricultural goods, once intercepted in the country, must be confiscated and destroyed under existing laws.