With the start of School Year 2016 – 2017, reminder is given on the need to strictly comply with the issued guidelines on food safety in school canteens as contained in DepED Order No. 52, s. 2008.
Paragraph 2 of the cited Order instructs Schools Division Superintendents to oversee the effective management of the school canteen and to underscore the responsibility of the school principal for any untoward incident that may happen in school due to non-compliance with school health policies and food safety guidelines.
Reminder is likewise made on the provisions of Subpar. 4.4 – 4.6 and 4.9, Paragraph 4 of DepED Order No. 8, s. 2007, which states, that:
4.4 Only nutrient-rich foods such as root crops, noodles, rice and corn products in native preparation, fruits and vegetables in season, and fortified food products labeled rich in protein, energy, vitamins and minerals shall be sold in the school canteen. Beverages shall include milk, shakes and juices prepared from fruits and vegetables in season.
4.5 The sale of carbonated drinks, sugar-based synthetic or artificially flavored juices, junk foods and any food product that may be detrimental to the child’s health and that do not bear the Sangkap Pinoy seal and/or did not pass BFAD approval is prohibited.
4.6 Iodized salt shall be used, in controlled quantity, in the preparation of cooked foods to ensure that the iodine requirement of the clientele shall be met and to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders. The use of monosodium glutamate (vetsin) shall be regulated.
4.9 Vendors shall not be allowed to bring in food items inside the school canteen/premises. Teachers and school personnel are likewise prohibited from selling food items within the school premises, except through the school canteen and unless authorized and covered by a written agreement with the school head/principal and/or the teachers’ cooperative.
Furthermore, Subpar. 5.6, Paragraph 5, supra, gives the following additional guidelines on the Adherence to Food Safety :
“5.6. Adherence to Food Safety
5.6.1. Food safety standards shall be strictly enforced and adhered to at all times by complying with the following:
(a) Availability of potable drinking water and hand washing facilities;
(b) Well-maintained, clean, well-ventilated and pest-free environment;
(c) Availability of food covers and containers for safekeeping;
(d) Hygienic practices on food preparation, cooking display, serving and storage”
To raise the level of consciousness of school children on the importance of food safety, basic messages and concepts must be integrated in selected subjects in the basic education curriculum. School heads and teachers should also encourage parents, through the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) in the school, to prepare nutritious and safe food for their children which they can eat during recess and lunch time.
The Schools Divisions Superintendent concerned, through the Principal of the school, upon the support PTA should also directly coordinate with the local government concerned to pass an Ordinance that will prohibit ambulant vendors to sell within fifty (50) meters from the school boundary.
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