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QC Health team starts nutrition drive.

By Alexandria Dennise San Juan

In a bid to ensure healthier student meals, the Quezon City Health Department inspected some school canteens in its intensified anti-junk food and sugary drinks ordinance campaign.

Quezon City Health Department chief Dr. Verdades Linga led the inspection at Pasong Tamo Elementary School which they said violated the city ordinance for selling "unhealthy" foods such as sweetened juices and junk foods.

The QC Health Department earlier released a list of allowed and prohibited foods to be sold in public and private schools in accordance with City Ordinance 2579-2017, or the QC Anti-junk food and sugary drinks ordinance of 2017.

Based on the ordinance, canteens in public and private elementary and high schools, as well as preparatory schools, and stores within 100 meters from school premises should only sell nutritious food that are included in the list.

Linga cited a study which found out that junk food and sugary drinks cause non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

"We are standing by the book and its cover based on the ordinance. We have the nutritionist in aid of us to determine what is junk and not junk," Linga said.

Some of the allowed foods to be sold by the City Health Department are milled or brown rice, boiled corn, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, biscuits with no filling, unflavored popcorn, empanada, pancakes without syrup, cheese waffles, sandwiches, boiled root crops, sotanghon with vegetables, lean meats, fresh fruits, potable or unflavored water, and fresh fruit juices.

Meanwhile, processed foods and artificial flavors are not allowed to be used in student meals.

The compliance in school canteens will be monitored daily by a focal person appointed by the school principal.

The daily menu should always be posted in front of the canteen while advertisements or promotions from junk foods and sugary drink products should not be allowed within the school premises.

Persons found violating the ordinance will be imposed a fine of P1,000 for first offense, P2,000 for second offense, and a fine of P5,000 and possible revocation of their existing barangay or business permits for third offense.

Linga called on the public, and parents of students in Quezon City to not sell junk foods and drinks to children.

"Ang pinoprotektahan ng ordinansa natin ay 'yung mga bata and I guess, no parent can deny the fact na gusto nila ang ikakabuti ng kanilang anak," she said.

In 2013, the Department of Education issued Division Order No. 65 series of 2013, reiterating the prohibition on sale, distribution and bringing of junk foods and carbonated drinks at school canteens.


Students of the Quezon City High School buy street food in front of their school. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Jun 28, 2018
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