July is Nutrition Month and this year the theme is “Kalamidad Paghandaan: Gutom at Malnutrisyon Agapan” (Prepare for calamities; prevent hunger and malnutrition).
Given last year’s two major disasters, the earthquake and Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” it certainly makes good sense to focus on how to ensure that people have enough food and proper nutrition during emergencies.
I have heard that some sectors in the food business are developing easy-to-prepare meals that can be sent to wherever they are needed quickly and easily. Some of them are said to be tapping soldiers in the field to test their products for taste and convenience.
Instant noodles may prevent hunger but they cannot provide the nutrients needed by disaster victims, who need to strengthen their immune systems that may have been weakened by stress and exposure to elements.
Perhaps as her way of marking Nutrition Month, although the newspaper report did not say so, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar filed a bill that sought to make it easier for consumers to get the information they needed on the nutritional components of their food.
Senate Bill 146 or the Philippine Nutrition Labelling Act would require food manufacturers to put easy-to-read and eye-catching labels on their products that would clearly indicate their nutritional contents.
Last year it was reported that the Food and Drug Administration issued a circular requiring food manufacturers, including fastfood chains, to indicate clearly and properly the energy or calorie content of their products. I don’t know how much impact the circular had, but the regulation seems to be more honored in the breach than in the observance, like many rules in this country.
I certainly do not notice any nutritional information on the packaging of food I get from fastfood chains on the rare occasions I order from those places. Hopefully a law will be taken more seriously than a circular.
I have not read Villar’s bill but I hope it also requires food labels to specify just how much of every ingredient—like salt, sugar, fat—it contains so people will know exactly how much they are getting from every food item.
As I said in an earlier column, many nutrition experts, for instance, pointed out that just labelling something as “low cal(orie)” or lite was not helpful to people wanting to lose weight.
They said, because amounts of ingredients were not clearly specified, many people tended to over-indulge in those so-called low-cal or lite items, thinking they could not exceed what was considered the healthful amount of calories they needed every day.
Over-consumption of lite or low-cal products, nutritionists said, could actually add up to significant amounts and might even exceed the number of calories in regular food items.
If energy or calorie contents would be clearly marked on food labels, consumers would be able to do the simple addition required to find out how many calories they were actually getting from the things they eat every day.
Butch Lobaton is hoping Megaworld executives would immediately act on the problems raised by the more than 80 residents of Tuscany Private Estates.
He said the residents felt like they were being ignored by management, as the issues they brought up remained unresolved. He wondered if Megaworld boss Andrew Tan had been informed of the residents’ concerns.
Lobaton had a long list of problems including alleged violations of building codes, leaks, faulty electrical wiring and facilities and services that had not yet been provided.
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