The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has urged the municipalities to take concrete steps to make foods sold in restaurants in their respective turfs fit for human consumption.
It passed a Resolution “requesting the League of Municipalities (LMP)-Bohol Chapter, through its President, Allen Rey Piezas, to strengthen their mechanism, through resolutions and ordinances, to ensure that food produced and marketed within their jurisdiction meet the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Health’s (DOH) food safety requirements.”
The appeal was an offshoot of federated Sangguniang Kabataan president Christian Victor Bolos III manifestation concerning the “excess food at restaurants which are being thrown away while many of our brothers and sisters have nothing to eat.”
Senior Board Member Atty. Venzencio Arcamo “suggested that the investigation should extend to fast food chains such as McDonalds and Jollibee.”
For monitoring purposes, the health committee chaired by BM Jade Bautista found that municipalities are only up to inspection during renewal of sanitary permits “which happens only at the beginning of the year.
“There is a need for an inspection team from the DOH in coordination with the PHO to conduct surprise inspection to the establishments so as to keep them on their toes,” Bautista, who is a nurse by profession, pointed out.
This despite the fact that restos have their own control system and officer who monitored and checked the food bought from the market.
DA and DOH are mandated to establish a mechanism to assist LGUs duty to monitor food sold in the jurisdictions meet the agencies’ food safety requirements, pursuant to Food Security Act of 2013.
The committee report defines “excess food” are those food which are cooked and still clean but weren’t served yet and are still fit for consumption; on the other hand, waste food are those leftovers from customers which are unfit for consumption.
It said that Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and restaurants (BAHRR) don’t usually have much excess food because they already gauge their food production according to their number of guests especially during functions;
As to fast food chains such as McDonalds and Jollibee, seldom do they have excess food because they only cook on per order basis;
However, if in case they do have excess food, they cannot just simply give them away because they are adhering to the Food Security Act of 2013 wherein one of its primary objectives is to protect the public from food-borne and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated food;
Furthermore, each establishment has its own mechanism of disposing their excess food, for example giving them out to their staff or sell them at a discounted price;
As to waste food, some establishments are giving them to specific neighbors to be used for feeding the pigs while the others choose to just decompose them.
It also cited Senate Bill No. 357 which provides for a System of Redistributing and Recycling Food Waste to Promote Food Security.
“Under such Bill, food is divided into two types: Edible food waste and Inedible food waste. Edible food waste are those food discarded in the retail and consumption stages, determined to be fit for consumption based on standards set by the National Nutrition Council. On the other hand, those which are unfit for consumption are classified as inedible food waste.”
“As provided in this Bill, food-related business establishments are required to enter into a contract with food banks to redistribute edible food waste to the food insecure and at the same time enter into a contract with waste management and recycling enterprises to recycle inedible food waste into fertilizer or compost,” the report approved by the SP said.
Food banks are the non-profit, charitable or other social mission-driven organizations that distribute food to the insecure.
As this developed, the provincial board also passed similar measure supporting the enactment of Senate Bill No. 357 entitled “An Act Providing for a System of Redistributing and Recycling Food Waste to Promote Food Security.”
Similarly, it also urged BAHRR through its President, Engr. Allen Christian Varquez, to have an arrangement with any Non-government Organizations (NGOs) or people’s organization (POs) “willing to collect waste food from food establishments so they may be put into good use.” (rvo)