IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay -- Several bakeshop operators have voiced out their concern over possible crackdown and subsequent closure of bread-making business after a top official of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised them to register with the agency.

One owner, who requested not to be named, said the warning, if carried out, will affect most of the existing bakeshops in town.

There are at least 20 bakeshops here and an estimated of no less than 100 all over the province. Most of these bakeshops do not have FDA license.

“What we have is a local business permit but not FDA license,” another bakery owner said.

FDA-Mindanao West Cluster Director Annette Tan issued the advisory after receiving reports that some of the bakeries in the region have not been registered with the FDA.

Tan said bakeries are required to secure a license from the FDA based on Republic Act 9711, otherwise known as the FDA Act of 2009, since they sell and serve food products to the public.

She said the FDA license is a separate requirement from the business permit issued by the local government and registration of business name with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Tan said the products sold in FDA-registered bakeries are ensured safe for consumption since they are properly checked and inspected by the agency.

The major ingredient that helps make a bread soft and fresh for two weeks is an additive called azodicarbonamide. The additive, which is present mostly in loaf bread, plays two important roles: bleaching and improving flour strength.

Azodicarbonamide, technically labeled as E927, is an odorless powder that is not intended for food application.

Europe and Australia ban the additive because it is a “respiratory sensitizer,” which can cause asthma and other allergic reactions. Singapore even imposes long jail terms for the use of the additive.

The United States, however, considered the additive as "Generally Recognized As Safe" by the FDA given that it can be added to flour in very a small amount -- 45 parts per million.

Tan said they will not hesitate to impose sanctions and penalties against bakeries operating without the required FDA license.

She said the sanctions include closure of the bakeries. (SunStar Philippines)