BOC bans imports of poppy seeds, products

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez has ordered the seizure of all imported poppy seeds and poppy seeds-containing products.

Alvarez warned the public that anyone who would import dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals including any and all species of opium poppy could be penalized with life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million.

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 PDEA, DDB, FDA and BOC had resulted in the confiscation at the Port of Manila of a container van containing culinary products,  75 bags of B. Orange and Poppy Seed Muffin Mix.