A party-list lawmaker at the House of Representatives urged concerned government agencies to craft a national system on food safety from source to dining plate.
Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera called on the Departments of Agriculture, Health, Trade and Industry, and Science and Technology to adopt such a system amid the ongoing battles against polio, epidemics and African swine fever, which are linked to safety practices in farms, communities, and homes.
“We have a sanitation crisis in our poorest communities because they lack a reliable supply of water, toilets, soap, and do not practice proper handwashing and personal hygiene,” Herrera said.
“Water puddles are allowed to have stagnant water to gather mosquitoes, bacteria, and viruses. Livestock farms attract flies and insects which swarm surrounding households,” she added.
The lawmaker stressed the need to craft a coordinated plan of attack that can be implemented immediately and then, a national master plan that can be later drafted into a bill that Congress can work on to institutionalize.
She particularly noted that the re-emergence of polio in Manila’s water testing may have been caused by the water shortage that occurred months ago.
She cited the case of Europe, wherein they have the “farm to fork concept” –in which every aspect of food safety is analyzed and regulated to make sure every piece of food and every drop of water consumed is safe for people and animals.
“Europe’s system does not just weed out toxins, carcinogens, and too many additives. Safe and best practices are infused during planting, livestock raising, fishing, storage, delivery, cooking, and serving to the diner,” she said.
“Dengue, polio, cholera, measles, and animals getting sick are ancient and even Third World problems. That these health problems continue to plague us means we are not ready to become the middle-income economy the economic managers boast of. These diseases are injustices against the poor,” Herrera said. (PNA)