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PIA Press Release

Food fortification mandatory, says Davao dad

By Rose B. Palacio

Davao City (29 September) -- Councilor Samuel Bangoy, chair of the committee on health of the sangguniamg panlungsod in a public hearing stressed the importance of enforcing food fortification as mandated under Republic Act 8976 or better known as the "Food Fortification Act of 2000".

As mandated by law, a committee hearing was called by SP assistant secretary Atty. Margarito dela Cruz Thursday at SP building which was attended by rice millers, food manufacturers, NFA officials, City Health and nutrition officials, BFAD, business sector, Kiwanis International, and other concerned private entities.

Councilor Bangoy explained that the proposed ordinance will require all food service establishments, rice suppliers, distributors, traders, retailers and repackers in Davao City to use, sell or distribute only iron fortified rice in accordance with the Food Fortification law.

Another proposed resolution is for the enactment of an ordinance to be known as "An ordinance regulating the sale of streetfood within the vicinity of schools and colleges, imposing certain guidelines and standards and providing penalties for violations."

In a latest consultation on food fortification spearheaded by Boy Rallos and Sergio Haw of the Kiwanis International, City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, Nutrition division head Venus Millana and National Nutrition Council regional head Ma. Teresa Ungson, it was revealed that there is already one local private entity capable of fortifying rice and capable of supplying iron fortified rice (even for the entire Mindanao), Its premix had been certified to have passed the highest standard; and it has fortification blender for sale at a lower cost.

Problems confronting the full enforcement of food fortification as mandated by law were discussed such as the problem with rice supply in Davao City since rice in the city is being outsourced, the one year production of farmers in Davao City is good only for 15 days; there is no final standard yet on iron rice premix; the possibility of a monopoly considering that there is only one supplier of rice premix and fortification blenders at present; and the NFA's target as mandated by the NFA national office.

In Davao City, while salt iodization has been successful in its implementation (in fact, Davao City has been a model in its enforcement), food fortification law was not fully implemented (same as in all other areas of the country) while the law requires its full enforcement since 2004. (PIA XI) [top]

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