Buy Noche Buena food from ‘reputable sources’: FDA

MANILA -- As Christmas Eve draws near, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called on consumers to be cautious and vigilant when buying food for Noche Buena, toys and cosmetic products.

“Consumers might fall victim to unscrupulous operators selling unsafe, compromised, improperly handled and stored, and misbranded food, toys and cosmetic products,” the FDA said in its Advisory 2017-324.

It warned Christmas shoppers against buying from “shady places” as unregistered food, toys and cosmetics might contain ingredients harmful to health.

“Buy products from reputable sources/retailers,” it said, adding that when shopping for food, buyers should check if they are sold under “hygienic conditions”.

Frozen products must be kept frozen and refrigerated products stored in refs. The area where they are sold must be free from pests, such as rats and cockroaches.

Likewise, shoppers must check the products’ packaging and make sure they are not tampered with, the FDA said.

For instance, labels should be intact; the expiry date should be original and not newly stuck; and information on the packaging should not be rubbed off. “Deficiencies in labeling information and presence of tampering should serve as a warning to consumers,” it said.

It added that canned goods must not be dented, rusted, or bulging while products in soft packaging, such as plastic, foils, and aluminum wraps, must not be torn. Metal bottle caps must not be rusty and glass bottles must not have cracks.

The agency also advised consumers to check labels for allergens.

"For food, be sure to read the ingredient list to check if you are allergic to one or more of the ingredients," the FDA said.

It encouraged the public to report violations at FDA e-Report (http.// or through email or (FDA)