By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA, July 18 (PNA)–The Department of Health (DOH) said that food manufacturers are responsible in ensuring that the food they sell will not cause any harmful effect to consumers.
“It lies in the hands of those who are involve in the food production the safety output of the food, so it is really very important that they practice extra caution and proper hygiene in the food preparation, handling to the delivery of food to the end users,” said DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin.
Garin said that with the recent initial findings of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the cause of the food poisoning among school children in CARAGA Region was due to “staphylococcus aureus” bacteria means that hygiene practices in the food preparation is something that should be given attention by responsible food sellers.
She said the food manufacturers should ensure that their products, including ingredients were clean. They should also ensure that their workers and or those who prepare the finish products observed personal hygiene such as washing their hands thoroughly.
Proper attire in the food preparation and presence of clean water body/hand-washing are important to ensure the cleanliness of the area where the food products are being prepared or cooked.
Garin said that it was not acceptable for someone who was engaged in food preparation to disregard washing of hands or just wear sleeveless and not cover their hair and other pertinent parts of the body.
Washing hands prevents the risk of food contamination since bacteria in the skin and body of the person who prepares the food might unintentionally mixed with the foods being prepared, she said.
She said that duly-registered big manufacturers should be aware of proper procedures in the preparation and handling of food products since they were inspected regularly by sanitary and health personnel if they complied with sanitation requirements to operate. Employees should also have health permits.
FDA earlier said that local government units were responsible in monitoring small food businesses that operate in a specific barangays and not engaged in wide distribution in the country.
DOH chief admitted that they were aware that there were some people who earned income through home-made cakes and other delicacies which they could not fully control.
“On the practical side, there are those who earn income from these like those who prepares and sells kutsinta, biko and some of them are working student..Good, if these were all well-prepared…On the other hand, we also cannot stop these because these require aggressive monitoring of LGUs,” she said.
Barangays are responsible in monitoring the safety of the foods as well as the consumers who regularly patronize small businesses like selling of some home-made products and not operating in large scale, she said.
She admitted that it was hard to monitor and trace the accountability of ambulant vendors or fly-by-night vendors in food poisoning incidences since they transfered their activities from one place to another.
Dr. Lyndon Lee-Suy earlier said that since food safety was everybody’s concerned, the general public or the end consumer should also check if the foods they were buying were well-prepared or from the trusted sellers who would not put their health at risk or cause them health problems.(PNA)