The Cebu City Schools Division of the Department of Education (DepEd) is reminding public school canteens about the policy prohibiting the selling of junk food and softdrinks. According to the Education Program Supervisor Delia Kiamco, they are regularly monitoring public school canteens to ensure that they only sell nutritious food. Business and sanitary permits and other licenses are annually checked by DepEd to assure that the food sold in the canteen are clean and safe. Kiamco said that those who are managing canteens should always bear in mind that service and not profit is the main consideration in operating a school canteen.
As provided for under DepEd Order 17, only nutrient-rich and fortified food shall be made available in school canteens. Processed fortified food should bear the ‘Sangkap Pinoy’ seal. Among beverages, only milk, vegetable and fruit shakes and juices are allowed. Kiamco said that in order to curb the malnutrition problem among school children, selling of soft drinks and other carbonated drinks, sugar-based synthetic or artificially flavored juices and junk food are prohibited since these are detrimental to children’s health. DepEd also prohibits the use of mono sodium glutamate or vetsin in food.
Only iodized salt should be used to help eliminate the iodine deficiency disorder among school children. School canteen operators are required to post their menu indicating nutritional value on a bulletin board within the school canteen premises. Label dilemma However, Kiamco said that because almost all junk food brands in the market have the “Sangkap Pinoy” and Fortified seal some canteens justify their sale. “Sometimes, canteen operators are after money making. We are strongly implementing the food service teachers from selling softdrinks and junk food,” Kiamco said.
Kiamco said that they will hold another meeting to decide what action to take on food products with Sangkap Pinoy and Fortified labels. She is asking the public to report to DepEd if there are any public school canteens that still sell prohibited food and drinks. DedEd is also having problems with those selling junk food outside school campuses. “We cannot do anything against these vendors outside the schools except to remind students not to patronize them,” said Kiamco. /Christine Emily L. Pantaleon, Correspondent
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