Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Davao shellfish traders urged to get accreditation

Traders selling all types of shellfish bound for Davao City should get accreditation first before selling their products here or pay from one to three thousand pesos as penalty.

“The ordinance on mandatory testing of shellfish is now being implemented in the city by the different agencies involved and we are urging market vendors and malls to buy shellfish only from accredited suppliers,” councilor Peter Laviña told Mirror yesterday.

Among the agencies in charge of making sure that all shellfish being sold in the city come from accredited sources and are safe from red tide includes the City Agriculturist Office, the City Veterinarian (because they have an aquaculturist) and the City Health Office.

Laviña said there is only one group of supplier that has an accreditation to sell shellfish in the city and that is the Certified Shellfish International or CSI owned by Alex P. Beronio. Another group is applying for accreditation, he added.

“All shellfish bound for Davao City no matter where it is coming from should undergo laboratory testing to make sure these are safe for human consumption,” he said.

He said the agencies involved should be more proactive in making sure that the various stores selling shellfish in the city bought their supplies from the accredited supplier only.

While the ordinance is considered strong, he said, he admitted that there is as yet no mechanism to make sure that all the entry and exit points in the city are monitored for shellfish supplies that are coming in.

“This is the job of the agencies involved so they should be more proactive in implementing the ordinance and making sure that only shellfish that have undergone laboratory testing are sold in the city,” he said.

Laviña said shellfish traders who are caught selling shellfish sourced from non-accredited suppliers can be penalized by paying a fine of from one to three thousand pesos. This is not to mention the possible criminal case that would be filed against them by the possible victims, he added.

He also urged consumers to be more vigilant and to ask the stores where the shellfish they are selling came from. The consumers can even ask the sellers to show them the purchase receipt to make sure the shellfish came from the accredited source.

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