House speaker to review implementation of Food Fortification Law
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants to see if the Food Fortification Law is being properly implemented 17 years after its enactment.
Under the term of former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, the Philippine passed into law the Food Fortification Law or Republic Act No. 8976, which calls for mandatory fortification of staples like rice with iron and voluntary fortification of processed foods with iron, vitamin A and/or iodine.
“State recognizes that nutritional deficiency problems in the Philippines, based on nutrition surveys, include deficiency in energy, iron, vitamin A, iodine, thiamin and riboflavin. To a minor extent, the Filipino diet is also deficient in ascorbic acid, calcium and folate,” the law states.
“The State recognizes that food fortification is vital where there is a demonstrated need to increase the intake of an essential nutrient by one or more population groups, as manifested in dietary, biochemical or clinical evidences of deficiency. Food fortification is considered important in the promotion of optimal health and to compensate for the loss of nutrients due to processing and/or storage of food. Food fortification, therefore, shall carried out to compensate for the inadequacies in Filipino diet, based on present-day needs as measured using the most recent Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA),” it added.
In a TV interview, Alvarez said he wants to know whether the law is being practiced or not because it could help solve the country’s problem about malnutrition.
“Sa ibang bansa ay talagang noong kumain ako… naalala ko, may dilaw-dilaw kasi na nandoon, ito yung iron. Marami kasing benefits yung [iron-fortified rice]. Lalong-lalo na yung mga kababayan nating mahihirap, ano? Kahit na walang ulam basta’t merong nutrients na added doon sa bigas, doon sa kanin, ay makakabuti sa katawan ng tao,” Alvarez said.
According to Alvarez, he will order an audit of all the laws like the Food Fortification Law, which has been passed more than a decade ago, and see if they are being implemented properly.
“Gagawin po natin yan kasi ngayon, ina-activate ko na yung mga oversight committees ng iba’t ibang komite dito sa House,” he further said.