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(Update) White Rabbit distributor bows to BFAD recall order

(Updated 1:08 p.m.) The local distributor of the White Rabbit creamy candy will recall its products from the Philippine market after government food regulators found these to be contaminated with the toxic chemical formaldehyde. GMA News said the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD), which detected the chemical in the candy, met Tuesday with representatives of Cheng Ban Yek and Co. Inc. to discuss the firm's pull out strategy. This developed as the BFAD reported that at least three more food products from China were laced with formaldehyde. BFAD officials gave Cheng Ban Yek 15 days to implement the recall, but the latter asked for more time because of the number of places where the products can be bought. The government told the distributor to submit progress reports every three days. Joshua Ramos, BFAD deputy director, said Cheng Ban Yek already agreed to the pull out as early as last week. He denied that this was a "total ban" on White Rabbit candies but said the recall was necessary as a "precautionary measure." "For now, we are determining the relative safety of the products. So these are under recall. When we say under recall, the product should not be sold to the public and we advise people not to purchase them until such time that we can assure that these are safe," Ramos said in Filipino. Guang Sheng Yuan Co. Ltd., manufacturer of the White Rabbit candy in China, earlier threatened to take legal action against the Philippines after BFAD ordered the product pullout. It branded the BFAD as "extremely irresponsible" for allegedly failing to make sure that the candy samples were from China. The firm added that its products have been faked in various countries and that no preservatives are added during the manufacturing phase. For its part, Candyman Philippines, maker of local White Rabbit candies, has insisted that its products were safe for consumption. Ramos said White Rabbit candies under the recall order should be segregated based on the date and place of manufacturing, as well as the location where these were distributed. Meanwhile, the BFAD said another milk candy and two biscuit brands from China were positive for formaldehyde, GMA News reported. These are: a milk candy manufactured by Romanticfish Food Industry Co. Inc., Bairong Grape Biscuits and Yong Kang Foods Grape Biscuit. The BFAD assured that more product tests are underway. - GMANews.TV