Vinegar is a very common in among Filipino households. It is used as condiment for our favorite meals and as an ingredient in various dish like sinigang or sour stew. It is also added to adobo and other viands to add sourness and to delay food spoilage due to its mild acidity. Vinegar is a liquid solution of acetic acid and water with some trace chemicals that might be additional flavoring that is usually produced from organic sources or sources that came from plant sugars. Manufacturers mass produce vinegar for distribution to consumers and most vinegars we buy came from these manufacturers. Others can buy pure organic vinegar in the province, where sugarcane is plentiful and supply of organic vinegar is readily available which are often sealed in big bottles or vessels of various capacity (liters). Household users, due to ease of buying in supermarket, public mart, or at sari-sari do buy vinegars commercially produced. These are packed conveniently in pouches, and has been used for cooking ever since. Who would have thought that the vinegar we use everyday for food is made from artificial and synthetic source. Thus the fake organic vinegar scare is real, and even DA advocated the release of a list of brands selling fake organic vinegar. FDA or the Food and Drug administration recently announced their study of vinegar products sold in the Philippines, and they revealed synthetic source-vinegar brands that the bureau warned about. Finally, from the news released in May 2019, the list just got release this June 4, 2019 and we now have the said list containing 5 fake acetic acid vinegar brands.
FDA List of Fake Organic Vinegar based on PON
The following brands tested by FDA with PON or Permanganate Oxidation Number revealed that the samples with the indicated best-before date, expiry date or batch number are synthetic vinegars:
- Surebuy Cane Vinegar -Best Before Date: 03-26-2021
- Tentay Pinoy Style Vinegar -Best Before Date: 03-18-2021
- Tentay Premium Vinegar- Batch No. TV SEP0718AC
- Tentay Vinegar ‘Sukang Tunay Asim’ -Expiry Date 06-06-2020
- Chef’s Flavor Vinegar -Expiry Date 01-04-2019
Rustan already announce the pullout of Surebuy brand from their supermarket. FDA advised that the brands they tested as synthetic vinegars does not mean harm to the body upon ingestion and they will conduct inspections to ensure that the products will not be in the market until further advise. FDA also plans to inspect the plant facilities of establishments in violation of FDA quality standards and practices.
As you can see, Cane sugar vinegar is organic. Synthetic acetic acid did not come from sugar cane, but are inorganically sourced either from synthetic acetic acid processing but is chemically equivalent to an organic acetic acid. Such mislabelling is often causing confusion among buyers.
You may see the FDA update below.