Filipinos online were alarmed at the news that some market vendors have opted to sell small plastic bags of diced onions for PHP10 (US$0.18) each rather than let their goods rot and go to waste.
GMA News’ Nico Waje reported that some sellers at the Blumentritt Market in Manila have opted to dice and repack their onions at 200 grams each as lasona onions, or local shallots, are being sold at PHP200 (US$3.66) a kilo.
The market vendors would rather chop up the onions so they can sell everything and go home, the report said.
Yet while people online sympathized with the sellers’ plight, they also raised alarm at the potential food hazards this practice may cause.
“Some onions have likely gone bad so the vendors take out the rotten parts by slicing. No sane customer will buy bad onions at the going price per kilo. The sliced onions are meant to salvage what they have but this is not advisable because it’s unsanitary,” u/mayoisnice said.
“My thoughts exactly. At our local market, I’ve seen vendors do these to vegetables that are going bad. They take out the unsightly portions and chop them so they can still sell them,” u/MagicNewb45 chimed in.
“I’ve seen this done to cabbage, carrots, ampalaya, pumpkin but first time [with] onions. Onions can really rot quickly,” u/catterpie90 wrote.
Amid consumer reservations, whether the practice will be long-term remains to be seen as the government also recently announced that their onion imports have just arrived in the country, which is expected to lower the prices of onions in the market.
Yet this comes at the expense of local onion farmers, who said that traders would use the importation to strong-arm their way into buying their harvest at low farmgate prices, with the current onion crisis already driving them to economic desperation.