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PIA Press Release
2008/03/01

Davao task force on food fortification meets Kiwanis District ranking officials

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (1 March) -- The Davao City Task Force on Food Fortification is set to meet with Kiwanis District Governor-elect of Philippine South District, Marit Remonde. The lady Governor-elect is the wife of Cerge Remonde, Secretary General of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

TF on Food Fortification vice chair Achilles Rallos said the meeting will be held on Monday (March 3) starting 2pm at the City Nutrition Office along Camus Street, Davao City. The City Nutrition Office is headed by Venus Millana of the City Health Office under Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, Davao City's Health Officer.

Highlights of the meeting will focus on the updates and recent developments on the city's campaign on the use of Iron Fortified Rice to be participated in the Department of Education; private catholic schools and institutions; NFA program implementers; DOH and BFAD program frontliners; and other civic groups and agencies involved on food fortification advocacies.

To hasten the drive on the use of fortified rice, the TF has set a planning workshop for more effective approach to sustain awareness among the public on the important use of fortified food products.

Republic Act 8976, an act establishing the Philippine Food Fortification program mandates the fortification of flour with Vitamin A and iron; Edible oil with Vitamin A; Sugar with Vitamin A; and Rice with Iron.

These food items were chosen because edible oil, rice, flour and sugar (including salt which iodized under Republic Act 8172) because these are items most commonly consumed and would accelerate the elimination of micronutrient deficiencies if these are fortified.

Under RA 8976, the manufacturers themselves should have their system for supervising the fortification of their products as part of their quality assurance program.

However, the government will also perform its monitoring and regulatory function through appropriate regulatory agencies as indicated in the implementing rules and regulations of RA 8976.

Some of the problems that need to be addressed include: 1) that the awareness of the importance of Vitamin A and Iodine is high but the knowledge of its benefits and consequences of its deficiency is poor; and that there is low awareness and understanding of the Sangkap Pinoy program and what the program's seal stands for.

Among the manufacturers, some problems that should also be addressed include: the inadequate appreciation of the micronutrient deficiency problem; and low awareness and understanding of the Food Fortification program.

There is also fear of weaker consumer demand due to the anticipated price increase resulting from food fortification. (PIA) [top]

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