Experts explain why street food is a ‘bad idea’

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QUEZON City, June 23, 2015 – Everyone seems to accept street food’s not-so-hygienic state as a given, but experts and doctors break down the reasons point by point, explaining why.

L-R: Dr. Mariano B. Lopez, Philippine College of Physicians; Dr. Adela Jamorabo-Ruiz, Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines (NDAP) president; and Engr. Rolando I. Santiago, Department of Health (DOH) supervising health program officer. (Photo: Oliver Samson)

Engr. Rolando I. Santiago, DOH supervising health program officer, asked parents during a recent forum sponsored by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) to discourage their children from buying food from ambulant vendors inside and outside the campus because their implements like spoons, forks, glasses, and plates, may not always be clean due to a lack of facility.

In addition, vendors do not usually have the knowledge nor the means to store food properly, he said. According to Santiago, food must be kept at a certain temperature to ensure their good condition.

Below safety standards

Uncovered food with insects, like flies, hovering about is also considered contaminated, Santiago noted, adding that food containing a lone hair strand is below food safety standards.

Ambulant vendors also do not undergo regular medical examinations, he said, the absence of which also make it possible for them to transmit contagious diseases to the school kids who eat their food.

With such prevailing realities, Santiago suggested having mobile vendors sell only food and drinks in sealed containers to prevent food-borne infections or intoxications.

Mandated by law

Meanwhile, Dr. Adela Jamorabo-Ruiz, Nutritionist-Dietitians’ Association of the Philippines (NDAP) president said the government requires schools to monitor food providers, like campus canteens and concessionaires.

Schools are mandated by law to safeguard kids from contaminated food and food poisoning, she said.

On a more practical note, Jamorabo-Ruiz advised parents to boil eggs as “baon” or snacks for their kids.

A boiled egg and fried hotdog, for example, should be allowed to cool before they are put in a container, Jamorabo-Ruiz noted. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

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