La Trinidad execs set law to regulate school canteens

>> Wednesday, September 28, 2016

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Wary of food school children and students eat for health, nutrition and sanitary reasons, local officials here passed an ordinance regulating food sold in school canteens.
Authored by Councilor Roderick Awingan, Ordinance Number 19-2016 regulates operations of school canteens in tis capital town to safeguard health conditions and promote proper nutrition.
School canteens play a vital role in developing eating habits of school children and students. 
However, several school canteens sell carbonated drinks, artificially flavored juices, junk foods and other similar products which are scientifically proven to be bad for the health.  
The measure said only nutritious food such as root crops, noodles, rice and corn products in native preparation, fruits and vegetables in season, fortified food products with proper labeling and beverages such as milk, shakes, juices prepared from fruits and vegetables in season will be served.
But commercially prepared food with “Sangkap Pinoy” seal which passed Bureau of Food and Drugs approval may be sold upon the approval of school administrations.
Part of the regulation is for school canteens to secure permit clearances such as sanitation permit issued by the Municipal Health Office and health certificates/clearance of canteen personnel.
Personnel are also required to wear clean and proper attire at all times and proper identification cards with photo inside canteen premises. They, including practicum students, are also required to undergo training on proper and safe handling of food before they are allowed to work in school canteens.
In adherence to food safety standards, they are required to have potable drinking water and hand washing facilities; well maintained, clean, well-ventilated and pest-free environment; food covers and containers for safekeeping; hygienic practices on food preparation, cooking display, serving and storage.
The use of controlled iodized salt in the preparation of cooked food is likewise required.
The ordinance prohibits vendors from selling food inside school canteens and premises. Also teachers and school personnel are not allowed to sell within school premises except through school canteen and unless authorized and covered by a written agreement with the school head or principal and or teachers’ cooperative.
The Municipal Health Office through the sanitary inspectors will do the regular monitoring and enforcement of the measure in coordination with the Department of Education Monitoring and Enforcement Team, the Technical Education Skills Development Authority and the Commission on Higher Education assigned focal personnel including the committee chair on health and education. -- Susan Aro


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