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May 30th
Home Sections Food Nene Pimentel Seeks More Tests on Turkish Flour as Indonesia Experiences Same Problems With It
Nene Pimentel Seeks More Tests on Turkish Flour as Indonesia Experiences Same Problems With It PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Food
Written by Nene Pimentel's Press Office   
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 22:17


F ormer Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. today called for more stringent and transparent tests on the Turkish flour being imported into the Philippines in view of the lingering public concern over a report that it may be toxic.


Mr. Pimentel stressed that further tests on Turkish flour is necessary because of the fear expressed by non-government organizations, like the People's Movement Against Poverty, that the use of the flour in pan de sal and noodles for sale to the public would endanger public health. 


Nene Pimentel also urged the government, particularly the Food and Drug Administration, to conduct the tests with the involvement and presence of non-government organizations in order to further assure the public about the accuracy of the test results.


Mr. Pimentel also said that the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science of Technology (DOST) should also be included in the test process. A definitive statement on their findings should put a closure on this issue, he added.


He wondered why initially traces of mycotoxins had been detected on Turkish flour in earlier tests that were reported by the FDA although in its more recent announcements no such traces are mentioned anymore.


“Siguro ay bago ang mga ipinadalang Turkish flour dito. Baka iyon ang mga ininspeksyon nila. Anyway, dapat ay may representante ang mga NGO na nakakaalam dito para matiyak ng taumbayan na hindi lang ito pakulo ng ilang mga opisina ng gobyerno,” said Mr. Pimentel. ("It could be new Turkish flour that has been subjected to the tests.  Anyway, what is important is that impartial NGOs should witness the tests to erase doubts among the people that the tests are not biased.")


Moreover, a prestigious world-wide medical publication, the Journal of Food of Istanbul University, has reportedly made similar findings as the earlier tests of the FDA on Turkish flour.


In addition, according to certain scientific studies, mycotoxins can cause hallucinations, skin inflammation, liver damage, hemorrhages, miscarriage, convulsions, neurological disturbances, and/or death in livestock and humans. The best-known mycotoxins are aflatoxin, ergot toxin, and the agents of mushroom poisoning.


They may also lead to cancer.


Nene Pimentel said that he has yet to hear new Health Secretary Enrique Ona speak on the issue. He urges Secretary Ona and his counterpart at the DOST to involve themselves and the NGOs concerned in the issue that affects the safety of the consuming public. Their official statements on the matter would help assuage the people that no danger to public health is posed by the questioned flour.


The former senator also urged the government to investigate the widely reported technical smuggling of Turkish flour through undervaluation.


Similar Case in Indonesia


A report by the Indonesian news agency Antara had said that Indonesian authorities had already slapped anti-dumping duties on Turkish flour entering that country.


The claimed undervaluation of Turkish flour at Philippine ports is practically the same concern that had been aired in Indonesia over the sale of Turkish flour there at so-called “dumping prices.” Local millers have complained that Turkish flour is being grossly undervalued through customs, cheating the government of millions of pesos in taxes and posing unfair competition to locally milled flour.


Mr. Pimentel said that President Aquino’s drive against corruption would certainly get a big boost by the new Customs officials’ stopping the reported undervaluation of imported Turkish flour. # # #

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