The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is ready to remove instant noodles from retail market shelves once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues a recall order for such products that are found to have a high sodium content, an official said Friday.
The agency is also still reviewing the petition of bakers to raise Pinoy Tasty and Pinoy Pandesal prices by P4—at the same time when canned goods makers are also batting for a price hike—as doing so will significantly burden consumers, DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Ruth Castelo said.
In a televised public briefing, Castelo said Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual already endorsed Senator Raffy Tulfo’s concerns over salt content in noodles—a staple for millions of poor Filipinos—to the FDA and the Department of Health (DOH).
At the Senate hearing of the DTI’s budget, Tulfo said that various brands of instant noodles have more than 1,600 milligrams (mg) of sodium, while a person can only safely consume 2,000mg of sodium a day.
The FDA had the authority to issue a recall order against products found non-compliant to standards, Castelo said.
“Once the FDA issues a recall order, the DTI will aid them in enforcing it,” she said. “One the recall starts, we will remove it from the (DTI) bulletin and we will ensure that these products won’t be sold in the retail market.”
“Actually, we are thankful to Senator Tulfo for bringing this up in the budget hearing… this alerted the DTI,” Castelo said.
Immediately after the hearing, Pascual endorsed it to FDA as well as DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire “so the FDA and DOH can look into the sodium content of instant noodles because these are high in sodium as per Senator Tulfo,” the Trade official said.
Meanwhile, the DTI is carefully evaluating the request of several manufacturers of canned goods and bread products for a price increase, Castelo said.
“The DTI is studying this. We are requesting additional information from Philbaking, the makers of these products, to ensure that our decision on the request will be justified,” she added.
The affordable bread variants Pinoy Tasty and Pinoy Pandesal were created as part of a corporate social responsibility initiative between the DTI and Philbaking that began in 2010.
Members of Philbaking include top brands such as The French Baker, Gardenia Philippines, Julie’s, among others.
The DTI is also evaluating the request of several manufacturers of canned goods to hike the prices of their products.
“We are requesting all data from manufacturers to ensure that the prices are right and reasonable for our consumers,” Castelo said.
She said canned goods manufacturers’ requests for price hikes range from 50 centavos to P5 to P20.
However, she said the DTI only allows a 10% increase in the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities.
Only 30% of products in its suggested retail price (SRP) bulletin can be adjusted, Castelo added.