FDA stops sale of ‘adulterated’ vinegars

FDA stops sale of ‘adulterated’ vinegars

MANILA — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday released the names of vinegar brands found to contain synthetic acetic acid, in line with its efforts to keep the consuming public properly informed about the products they are buying.

These brands include Surebuy Cane Vinegar, Tentay Pinoy Style Vinegar, Tentay Premium Vinegar, Tentay Vinegar “Sukang Tunay Asim”, and the Chef’s Flavor Vinegar.

FDA, however, stressed that the presence of synthetic acetic acid in vinegar “is not a safety issue and does not pose any health risk to consumers as this only means that the vinegar is of substandard quality.”

“The presence of synthetic acetic acid merely indicates that the vinegar did not undergo fermentation, either through a slow process, quick process, or submerged culture process, which is used for commercial vinegar production,” it added.

But since the five identified vinegars were found to contain synthetic acetic acid and deemed to be adulterated, FDA said these “must not be sold to the public.”

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol earlier directed the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) to set norms for vinegar manufacturing, with only sour condiments produced through natural fermentation process should be labeled “vinegar” or “suka.”

“As Secretary of Agriculture and a consumer, I will not dip my fingers into the health issues involved in using ‘non-biogenic vinegar’ because those are beyond my competence. But there are legitimate issues which I have to raise to protect our local vinegar-makers and the consumers as well,” said Piñol in a press briefing.

“The dictionary defines vinegar as ‘a sour-tasting liquid containing acetic acid, obtained by fermenting dilute alcoholic liquids, typically wine, cider, or beer, and used as a condiment or for pickling.’ The definition does not say — ‘or any other sour condiment produced from synthetic materials which are by-products of fossil-fuel processing’,” he said.

Any other product which offers the “sour” taste but is not a product of a natural fermentation process should be properly labeled as such — synthetic acetic acid or “sour non-biogenic” condiment, he added.

Thus, Piñol said that as Secretary of Agriculture, “sour condiments made out of synthetic or non-biogenic acetic acid should not be labeled as ‘vinegar’ or ‘suka’.”  Lilybeth Ison / PNA – northboundasia.com