Buy only fresh fish, consumers told
PHO says its food reaction not poisoning
Pangasinenses were advised to be very picky on what they buy and what to eat especially in the aftermath of typhoon said Dr. Jackson Soriano, head of the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
Soriano issued said statement following reports that many residents in first district of the province were downed by stocked, not properly preserved milkfish (bangus).
Contrary to the reports that circulated in the national dailies, only 68 were victimized for eating bangus.
Most of the victims, who are residents of the city and Sual town, were confirmed rushed to the Western Pangasinan District Hospital (WPDH), Alaminos Doctors Hospital and private clinics in the city from Tuesday to Thursday.
Its not food poisoning but more of a food (over) reaction, said Soriano, in an interview with local media before the start of the National Disaster Coordinating Council meeting held in Lingayen, Pangasinan yesterday.
No less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presided over the meeting with provincial officials, town executives and DepEd officials in attendance.
Soriano said with this food reaction, allergies are very visible. Victims also suffer vomiting, abdominal pain, dizziness, reddening and skin itchiness by allergies and headaches.
“They will experience the same when they eat other species of fish which are not fresh or improperly preserved,” he added.
Soriano noted that “everybody took advantage on buying bangus when it was sold P 25-40 a kilo.”
On regular market days, one could usually buy a kilo of medium sized bangus for P70- 90.
But with almost 90% of fish pens and fish cages in Alaminos and the town of Sual had been washed out by typhoon ‘Cosme’, prices of bangus had gone down the past few days.
Aside from palay, bangus is one of the city’s major produce and Alaminos is said to be one of the major suppliers of bangus in Metro Manila.
According to Soriano, those who were affected by food reaction were actually the ones who bought bangus by the volume, have it sun dried, preserved or stocked for future consumption.
“Its good the city and WPDH have easily detected it (food reaction) and immediately alerted us,” he added.
‘We swiftly sent our team to conduct field surveys and examine the bangus samples being sold. We also provided our hospital the boxes of anti-allergy medicines.”
Soriano even backed-up Dr. Marivic Carambas, the City Health Officer’s, claim that what they have suffered are not life threatening.
All the victims were reportedly sent home after they were given anti-allergy shots and other medicines that readily available in the hospitals and underwent thorough examination by the doctors.
The PHO chief also lauded the efforts of the task force created by the city government to safeguard the residents from the contaminated or decomposing milkfish by confiscating the bangus the city markets found to be no longer suitable for consumption.
He said the city’s massive info-dissemination drive in the barangays was very effective and timely that most residents have thrown away all the milkfish they have preserved for the week and turned on meat and veggies instead of fish for their meals.
PHO was likewise quick to rule out formalin as the major cause of food reaction.
Authorities theorized that in the absence of ice to preserve milkfish, residents who bought bangus could have treated it with formalin.
But samples taken from a victim from Sual by PHO showed no traces of formalin, a substance used to preserve fish and dead organisms. (CIO)