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22 May 2024, 16:31 PM

Customs Bans Entry of Poppy Seeds and Poppy Seeds-Containing Products

April 11, 2011

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez ordered today the seizure of all imported poppy seeds and poppy seeds-containing products and the filing of criminal and administrative charges against erring importers.

Alvarez warned the public that under Sec. 4 Article II of Republic Act 9165, anyone who would import Dangerous Drugs and Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals “xxx… including any and all species of opium poppy or any part thereof or substances derived therefrom even for floral, decorative and culinary purposes” could be penalized with life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00)

The ban on the entry of poppy seeds and poppy-seeds containing products was one of the positive consequences of a recent privilege speech of Senator Vicente Sotto III who called attention on the growing demand for opium poppy seeds being used as culinary ingredients.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) response to Sotto’s expose came in the form of a warning on poppy seeds use directed at establishments that serve and dispense the dangerous drug.

The PDEA action was followed by an order issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoking the Certificate of Product Registration of all poppy seeds-containing products it had issued to concerned companies. The latter were also directed to stop the importation of poppy seeds and to surrender whatever supply they still have to PDEA.

Sotto warned that since opium seeds contain alkaloids of morphine, codeine and thebaine which are classified as dangerous drugs, the person regularly taking these products would most likely test positive for dangerous drugs when examined.

Alvarez disclosed that close coordination between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Food And Drug Administration (FDA) and Bureau of Customs had resulted in the confiscation last March 11 at the Port of Manila of 1×40 foot container van consigned to Bakels Philippines Inc. Among the culinary products found in the said container van were 75 bags of B. Orange and Poppy Seed Muffin Mix.

The customs chief revealed that the entry of the contraband which came from Malaysia was detected and foiled by customs operatives headed by Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Horacio P. Suansing and Enforcement and Security Services Director Nestorio B. Gualberto.

Alvarez commended Suansing and Gualberto for providing the much-needed muscle to the BOC’s Task Force on Dangerous Drugs and Controlled Chemicals.

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