By Chito Chavez
Three Quezon City Councilors have pushed for more stringent measures in the city’s food safety rules to avert food poisoning incidents and spread of gastro-intestinal diseases associated with food intake.
Councilors Victor Ferrer Jr., Eufenio Lagumbay and Allan Benedict Reyes issued the call as they urged local health authorities to ensure that the food served in the schools’ canteens are always safe for human consumption.
They also asked concerned agencies to randomly conduct food safety inspections on eateries, carinderias and street food vendors catering mostly to the pupils and students in the city’s public high schools.
To prevent food poisoning episodes in the city’s schools, the Councilors appealed to the Department of Education (DepEd) to update its current food safety guidelines in line with Republic Act 10611.
They also called the DepEd to further strengthen its food safety awareness programs in coordination with other national government agencies and with local government units, barangay councils and parent-teacher associations.
Reyes said the City Health Department should also consider undertaking regular massive food safety awareness-raising activities throughout the school year.
R.A. 10111, or the Food Safety Act of 2013, seeks to strengthen the food safety regulatory system in the Philippines in order to, among other objectives, “protect the public from food-borne and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated foods.”
Reyes noted that DepEd Orders No. 52, Series of 2008, No. 7, Series of 2007 and No. 14, Series of 2005 could be strengthened and even broadened to promote and ensure children’s access to safe, healthy, nutritious and affordable foods being offered for sale to school children.
He also appealed to the city’s food business operators, consignees, and vendors to stick to basic food safety rules to prevent food poisoning.