Makati shuts down school canteen
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Makati City government shut down the canteen of a public school yesterday, a day after 122 students and a teacher were hospitalized due to food poisoning.

In issuing the order for Pio del Pilar Elementary School-Main’s canteen to stop operating, Mayor Romulo Peña assured the parents of affected students that they are investigating the incident.

“We are committed to protecting the safety and well-being of our constituents, especially the children,” he said.

Peña added that the city government and Department of Education officials in Makati will start an intensified drive to raise awareness on food safety among public school students, teachers and canteen operators.

Early yesterday, doctors from Makati’s health department and representatives from the Food and Drug Administration inspected the school premises, particularly the canteen.

Health department officer-in-charge Dr. Bernard Sese said samples of food and beverages obtained from the canteen have been turned over to the FDA and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for analysis.

Health officers also obtained vomit samples from the victims and sent them to the RITM for testing.

The results are expected to be available after at least one week.

Sese said the samples taken from the canteen included different types of biscuits, flavored drinks, tikoy (rice cake), pianono bread, polvoron and brownies. All these items were sold during recess last Thursday, he said.

The FDA said it will coordinate with the health departments of Manila and Pasay, where the suppliers of food and beverage products found in the school canteen are located. These suppliers will also be inspected as part of the ongoing investigation.

According to reports reaching the Makati City government, the victims fell ill immediately after taking snack foods from the canteen during their mid-morning break at around 9:30 a.m.

After showing signs of food poisoning – abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache and cold sweats – the victims were rushed to the Palanan Health Center and Ospital ng Makati.

According to Sese, the inspection team found the permits and other regulatory requirements for the operation of the school canteen to be valid as the renewal process is still ongoing. Its latest water safety inspection certificate was issued last December.

ATILDE CANTEEN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DR. BERNARD SESE DRUG ADMINISTRATION MAKATI MAKATI CITY MANILA AND PASAY MAYOR ROMULO PE PALANAN HEALTH CENTER AND OSPITAL PILAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL-MAIN
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