By Mario Casayuran
Neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday sought the pullout of “Alcopop” drink from grocery shelves, saying it contains seven-percent alcohol similar to some beer products.
Alcopop, packaged in 200 ml tetra pack, has almost the same alcohol content as some beer products, Go said during the public hearing of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Sen. Pia S. Cayetano.
Go said that the packaging of the controversial Alcopop drink must also be carefully reviewed as “it resembles the packaging of kid’s juices.”
During the hearing, Cayetano, Go, and other senators all agreed that the product be pulled out from grocery shelves and its pacakagung be changed after they tasted the product.
“Alam niyo po, sabi ko, ‘yung kulay niya parang juice, talagang noong tinikman ko ay parang nahilo po ako (It looks like fruit juice, but when I tasted it I nearly fainted),” Go said.
Alcopop was even stronger than beer, he added.
Go wants to know from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) if the manufacturer of the particular drink has followed the prescribed rules and regulations for the packaging and labeling of products.
He said that the young should not be given the chance to get hold of the product and expressed
Support to calls for government agencies to look into the matter and conduct an investigation.
Go said Alcopop drink could easily lure consumers, especially minors, into consuming the product without knowing that it is an adult drink.
In a text message, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez told Go that he personally inspected major supermarkets and found out that Alcopops have “weak” distribution.
The DTI head added that the product is not even sold in major supermarkets, like SM and Rustan’s, but “in a secondary account like Pioneer Center, but it is sold sparsely.”
Lopez explained that while it is not promoted for minors as it is displayed in the liquor and beer section based on DTI’s latest inspection, “the colorful bright packaging is not appropriate for such kind of products which are usually in glass bottles and (have) more serious label.”
Lopez also said they would require the manufacturer to “immediately change the current packaging and pullout the current stocks or require them to apply (sticker) to the current stocks to ensure that it is not mistaken for a juice, while they correct the packaging.”