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DSWD will send samples of the canned tuna to the FDA for analysis.

On Monday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced that it would send samples of the Ocean’s Best Tuna items under investigation to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate them for dietary safety.

After several recipients in Oriental Mindoro complained about the quality of the Ocean’s Best Tuna, a fact-finding group established at Rex Gatchalian’s direction made the recommendation to submit the samples to FDA.

DSWD Field Office (FO) in Region 4B or Mimaropa on May 5 confirmed complaints concerning the quality of the canned tuna, one of the foods included in the family food packs (FFPs) for DSWD recipients, and Gatchalian subsequently requested an investigation.

The complaints range from having “unacceptable and unusual taste” to being “unpalatable” and “smells like rotten eggs,” according to an FO-Mimaropa report.

The fact-finding panel notified the two suppliers’ representatives that the DSWD would send samples of the canned tuna flakes from the pre-positioned FFPs in Calapan City and the municipalities of Naujan, Bulalacao, and Roxas to the FDA as well as a letter.

According to DSWD spokeswoman Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez, “The DSWD will wait for the results of the FDA tests as this will determine objectively and scientifically whether the in question canned tuna flakes are safe for the consumption of the beneficiaries or not.”

“We cannot definitively say if the complaints were brought about by taste preference or by actual contamination in Ocean’s Best Tuna cans,” he continued.

The DSWD’s inventory of canned tuna was shown to be still fresh during the fact-finding meeting despite samples showing an expiration date of 2025.

According to Lopez, the FDA test will also ascertain if the cans’ stamped expiration dates accurately reflect the condition and caliber of the tuna flakes inside of them.

According to Lopez, “The Department has a wide range of options if the FDA test result is unfavorable to Ocean’s Best Tuna, including the suppliers’ replacement of the entire lot and other sanctions like withholding payment and even blacklisting from the list of accredited suppliers.”

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