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Durian candymaker's permit suspended over poisoning incident

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Invoking public health, acting mayor Paolo Z. Duterte ordered the city's business bureau to suspend the business permit of the candy manufacturer pending issuance of clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Duterte issued the order Sunday, July 12.

Duterte told Rappler: "I just got hold the report from City Heath Office (CHO). It says, Ms. Janet I. Aquino was not issued FDA certificate allowing her to manufacture and sell her candies. I am invoking public health to order the suspension of her business pending issuance of FDA clearance."

"They should stop manufacturing their candies now to avoid further complications," Duterte emphasized.

"If they claim that their products were repacked, then they must prove it! The families of the schoolchildren who consumed their candies deserve an explanation. [The] food poisoning [incident] was massive. You endanger public health," Duterte stressed.

Aquino maintained the candies manufactured and sent to John Dequilla on July 8 were of good quality. Dequilla is now detained in Tandag City.

Business Bureau Chief Atty. Lawrence Bantiding told Rappler: "The acting mayor ordered me to suspend the business permit of Mrs. Aquino pending issuance of FDA clearance. I will serve the notice of suspension first [thing] tomorrow (Monday, July 13)."

Bantiding said the city government "will only lift the suspension the moment they can provide us with FDA certificate."

Wendy's started manufacturing durian candies and tarts in 2011, but failed to secure an FDA certificate.

Aquino claimed, on the same year, the Business Bureau issued them a Temporary Authority to Operate (TAO) permit as they promised to comply with the FDA requirement, "but due to circuitous requirement of the agency we stopped processing it."

Bantiding said the FDA, unlike the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Fire Protection, regularly asks for a list of new business applicants and list establishments operating in the city. "FDA never communicated to us, we are willing to furnish them data they need about food regulated by their agency."

Agusan del Sur Vice Governor Santiago Cane Jr. earlier said Wendy's should be held liable for manufacturing food without FDA approval. – Rappler.com