Cold storage raids in Navotas yield P120M in allegedly smuggled food

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Tuesday that it has confiscated meat, poultry and fishery products worth P120 million on suspicion of smuggling, after inspections carried out at seven storage facilities in San Rafael Village, Navotas City.

In a joint operation led by the Bureau of Customs, the inspectors confiscated frozen agricultural products at a facility on Francisco Street.

More frozen agricultural products were seized from two facilities on Bernardo Street.

Two hidden cold storage facilities were found at a trucking services business on George Street, yielding meat products.

Subsequently, the team also seized other frozen products at a cold storage unit and two refrigerated vans along Simeon De Jesus Street and a warehouse on Escalada Street.

“The seized commodities lack the sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the appropriate Food Safety Regulatory Agency (FSRA),” said Agriculture Assistant Secretary James I. Layug in a statement.

“Food safety remains one of the DA’s major concerns, and selling the meat and fishery products on the market could endanger public health,” he added.

The facilities will be shut down pending investigation of the owners for possible violations of Republic Act No. 10611 or the Food Safety Act of 2013 and Republic Act No. 10845, or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera