BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance requiring compliance to product labelling for manufacturers, retailers and distributors of processed fruits and nuts, and other processed foods, of the city and to sell and distribute ‘pasalubong’ food products only to ensure consumer protection through proper information and choice.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Philian Louise Weygan-Allan states that ‘pasalubong’ food products manufactured, sold and distributed in the city must bear the minimum labelling requirements for consumer and food products adopted from the provisions of the Consumer Welfare Act, particularly its correct and registered trade name or brand name, its duly registered trademark; its duly registered business name; the address of the manufacturer, repacked of the consumer product in the Philippines; its general make or active ingredients; the net quantity of contents in terms of weight, measure or numerical count rounded of to at least the nearest tenths in the metric system; country of manufacture if imported and if a consumer product is manufactured, refilled or repacked under license from a principal, the label shall saw state the fact; expiry or expiration date where applicable; whether the consumer product is semi-processed, fully processed, ready to cook, ready to eat, prepared food or just plain mixture; nutritive value if any; whether the ingredients used are natural or synthetic as the case may be and such other labelling requirements as the concerned department may deem necessary such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration among others.
The ordinance stipulates that local manufacturers of ‘pasalubong’ food products like strawberry jams, peanut brittle, lengua de gato, among others and retailers, distributors of ‘pasalubong’ food products at the city market, satellite markets, tourist areas and other facilities or establishments, will be covered by the provisions of the proposed measure.
The ordinance adds that the implementing rules and regulations of the measure will be crafted by the local legislative body in consultation with the concerned sectors.
Under the proposed ordinance, any person, natural or juridical, found violating the pertinent provisions of the measure shall be fined P2,000 and the confiscation of unlabelled products for the first offense, P3,000 and suspension of permit to operate business until compliance for the second offense, and P5,000 and imprisonment of the business operator for 30 days, revocation of business permit or both upon the discretion of the court for the third and succeeding offenses.
The Consumer Welfare Act of the Philippines states that it shall be the policy of the State to protect the interests of the consumers, promote their general welfare and to establish standards for conduct of business and industry.
Further, the law declares that the State shall enforce compulsory labelling, and fair packaging to enable the consumers to obtain accurate information as to the nature, quality and quantity of the contents of consumer products and to facilitate their comparison the value of such products.
Baguio City provides foreign and domestic visitors a wide variety of locally processed and manufactured food products or ‘pasalubong’ products sold at the city market and other tourist areas.
By DEXTER A. SEE