Consistent with the Food and Drug Administration’s mandate of protecting public health and instilling health consciousness to the people, the FDA, for the entire duration of the Christmas season beginning this week will be inspecting establishments throughout the National Capital Region with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry , the local government and other enforcement agencies. Advocacy groups deeply committed to the cause of toy safety such as ECOWASTE are also actively supporting the campaign.
In keeping with the direction of a strengthened FDA, the agency’s program to ensure the safety of toys is getting a boost from the portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer. By enabling access to accurate test results on heavy metals almost instantly, the X-ray analyzer is making possible the enforcement of regulatory decisions on-site that will significantly impact on furthering the cause of consumer safety.
FDA inspectors will be making the rounds of establishments from sidewalk bangketasto the stores located in malls that are engaged in the selling of toys and other consumer goods and conducting on-site testing. Based on test results that will be available instantly, appropriate regulatory sanctions will immediately be issued on products found to be non-compliant to safety standards. In addition to the presence of toxic heavy metals such as lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), mercury (Hg) and arsenic (As). Labels of toy products will also be inspected for appropriate warnings that include choking hazards. In the future, the FDA will be expanding this campaign to ultimately cover more regions.
The FDA had issued License to Operate (LTO) to 135 manufacturers, importers, and distributors of toy products and reiterates its call to these establishments to take due diligence in determining that the products they manufacture and carry are toxic-free.
The FDA warns sellers of unregistered and adulterated toy products that under RA 9711, the maximum administrative penalty imposable that will be meted to erring persons is 500,000 pesos. In addition to the fine, products will be subject to seizure and the establishment subject to closure. If a separate criminal action is pursued, in addition to maximum fine of 500,000 pesos, the offender will also be subject to imprisonment of not more than 10 years.
If the offender is a manufacturer, importer or distributor of unregistered toy products, the maximum fine imposable is 5 million pesos and imprisonment of not more than 10 years. (DOH)