EcoWaste Coalition calls for establishment of 'safety committee' on 'fake vinegar'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition on Sunday called on the government to form a committee that will address the presence of alleged "fake" vinegar products in local markets.

This comes after a study by the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) found that eight out of 10 vinegar products available in the country are made from synthetic acetic acid that is harmful to consumers' health.

Acetic acid, according to its material safety data sheet, "is highly corrosive to the skin and eyes and can also be damaging to the internal organs if ingested or in the case of vapor inhalation."

EcoWaste Coalition, in a statement, urged the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health (DOH) to establish a “Vinegar Safety Committee" to assure that the products are immediately pulled out from local markets.

The group cited Republic Act 10611 or the "Food Safety Act of 2013," which prohibits the production, importation, distribution and sale of food products not in conformity with food quality or safety standard, including adulterated, misbranded, mislabeled and falsely advertised food products.

The group also called on the Food and Drug Administration to issue a public health warning to prompt the removal of the vinegar products.

Agriculture Secretray Manny Piñol earlier said he will meet with leaders of the DOH, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry next week to look into the alleged fake products.

Piñol said the DA will ask PNRI which vinegar brands using acetic acid are passing off their products as natural. These brands will then be referred to the DOH, which has supervision over the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

He said "a market advisory should be issued and the brands using acetic acid must be pulled out of the market" pending the validation of the brands by the FDA.