My take on the milk tea buzz. It's all over the news lately, how 2 people died after drinking milk tea from Ergo Cha Milk Tea House in Sampaloc, Manila. Here is what I've learned from reading different articles about it, published online by the news moguls and the reaction of netizens through social media:

  • There are a lot of people who don't read full articles, just the title
    I've read countless comments from people on Facebook asking the page admin to divulge the name of the milk tea house and exact branch location where the unfortunate incident took place. If they would just click the link maybe? It was actually written there and was definitely not a blind item article. Please click the link.
  • Some people just love to jump into conclusions
    I also saw some people posting pictures of popular milk tea chains like Infinitea, linking it to the incident which is truly misleading. I don't think those people even know that they could be sued for libel with such reckless posts online. Friendly advice, just get your facts straight before spewing things out that you might regret in the future. :)
  • Some people love to blow things out of proportion
    Then there were these comments that went along the lines of "Let's boycott all milk tea shops because this incident just shows us that milk teas aren't that safe to drink." Forgetting the fact that a lot of us have enjoyed the drink prior to the sad event this month and are still alive and kicking.
  • The food/beverage industry is cut throat
    One wrong move and you're dead. This is a wake up call to all businesses in the food industry to step up their game and maintain a high level of excellence when it comes to the quality of their products and services. No slacking is allowed here.
  • The media can make or break you
    The masses are greatly influenced by whatever mainstream media says. We can safely say that the whole milk tea industry got hit really hard by this issue despite the fact that it is indeed an isolated case as stated by the DOH.
I don't know about you guys, but I am still going to drink milk tea. Why? Well:

  • Milk tea is a healthy drink
    It's way better than soda, some juices and the iced teas served in fast food chains and restaurants, that's for sure. Just read labels and check the ingredients.
  • Tastes great
    No one can deny that milk teas are yummy and those fruity ones are just so refreshing and perfect for the summer heat.
  • Milk tea shops source from different suppliers for ingredients
    So if hypothetically speaking, those deaths were because of poorly prepared Tapioca (this hasn't been ruled out yet), we can't really band all suppliers together, can we? That would just be unfair.
  • I drink milk tea and I'm still alive
    I drink the stuff, but I'm still here at this very moment, doing this article. That should tell you something, right?
In my opinion, people shouldn't judge the whole milk tea industry by the mistake of one. Let me take this opportune moment to remind you all of an incident that dates back in 2005 about 27 kids who died in Bohol after eating Cassava or Tapioca, you can read the full story here, it is also mentioned in passing here. There weren't just 2 deaths from incorrectly prepared Cassava, there were 27 total. And they were kids, but Cassava we have to admit is still big in Filipino desserts to this very day.

Do you know about blowfish or pufferfish? It is called Fugu in Japan which is one of the most celebrated and notorious fish in their local cuisine. They are still being served in restaurants today. A full-course meal of this poisonous fish can actually cost up to $100-200 approximately. There are more than a hundred deaths from eating this blowfish that have been recorded, the most recent was due to customers specifically asking for the liver to be served all the while knowing the high risks eating it entails. 
More about Fugu which is actually on my bucket list in another article. I'm just using it as an example, something people should think about with regards to the milk tea deaths in Manila. What I'm saying is, the risk is always there whenever we eat out anyway, or even at home, like if you try to prepare Fugu on your own without training. Now if the Japanese are still eating blowfish and even paying a couple hundred bucks for it, fully aware of the risks and number of deaths caused by the fish, shouldn't we do the same with milk teas? I'm not saying we should overlook the incident, just not brand milk tea in general as a drink not safe for human consumption.

How about you, what's your view on the negative buzz about milk tea that's going around?

Article published on April 16, 2015