Benguet – Mayor Ruben Tindaan ordered an in-depth investigation on the alleged food poisoning among some forty two high school and elementary students of public schools in Natubleng after they allegedly ate strawberry-flavored candies given to them for free by a Korean couple who had been residing in the town for over a year now.
Tindaan said that samples of the candies were already submitted to the health department for the conduct of laboratory analysis to ascertain whether or not they contain substances that could have caused the food poisoning among the affected students while the Korean couple had been released by the authorities pending the results of the laboratory analysis on the candies before ascertaining their liability on the said incident.
“We hope the concerned government agencies will be able to come out with the laboratory results on the submitted strawberry-flavored candies that were taken from various stores so that we will know who will be liable for the untoward incident,” Mayor Tindaan stressed.
The local chief executive claimed that based on initial police investigation, the Korean couple allegedly purchased the strawberry-flavored candies from certain establishments in the locality and distributed the same to the students of the Natubleng National High School and Natubleng Elementary School as part of their usual activities in the municipality where they have resided for over a year.
After at least 20 minutes, those who ate the candies reportedly started to vomit that caused their teachers to seek assistance in rushing the affected students to the Atok District Hospital where they were provided with the appropriate treatment.
Upon learning about the incident, Tindaan immediately ordered the confiscation of the remaining candies on display in the different establishments in the town so that the same will be subjected to laboratory analysis.
According to him, some of the candies seem to be doubtful based on their wrappers because they have markings of Vina Morales products manufactured in Laguna while added markings include Baguio City, thus, the need for the conduct of laboratory analysis to ascertain their components or whether the said candies already expired.
Tindaan assured the parents of the affected children that the local government will initiate the appropriate action against those responsible for the widespread distribution of the strawberry-flavored candies that seem to be fake once the results of the laboratory analysis shall have been released while the Korean couple will still be subject to monitoring by the law enforcers to ascertain their activities in the town.
He pointed out that it is premature to conclude that the Korean couple is liable for the food poisoning incident because they simply purchased the candies from certain establishments in the municipality that is why there is a need to conduct an in-depth investigation on the said incident to prevent the repeat of similar incidents as well as to make sure that no similar fake products will be sold in the different establishments for the safety and protection of the residents and visitors alike.
Tindaan added some 10 to 15 students are still confined in the hospital undergoing observation although their situation already stabilized and awaiting clearance from health officials. By HENT