Is your food safe?

Filipinos always want the best for their families. So, whether they are buying staple food like fish and vegetables or commodities like milk or cooking oil, the safety of these goods is always a concern. Nevertheless, there are issues which the buying public needs to be aware of—the harmful food ingredients that are a direct threat to the health of millions of Filipinos.


With such concern, a group of sensible citizens formed a group called the Consumer Right for Safe Food (CRSF) and recently held a Safe Food for Best Health and Wellness forum.  Experts discussed the current food safety situation and according to CRSF president Gigi Chua, “There are many foods that we buy in the market and many don’t know that it is very dangerous to our health. You examine the food label but you won’t know if the ingredients are really intended for humans or just for animals.”

She further explains that “There are types of grain and beans which were manufactured as animal food but these strains are already in our food chain.  We have to know where they came from.” Furthermore, Chua sheds light on what Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are. According to her, GMOs are domesticated plants and animals whose genes were altered and are proven to cause allergies, antibiotic resistance, muscle weakness, and multiple sclerosis-like symptoms to humans.

Although there is an existing law — Republic Act 7394 or The Consumer Act of the Philippines that seeks to protect Filipino consumers against products that are hazardous to health and safety, there is still no provision that looks after Filipino consumers against GMO crops.  What the Philippines has is the regulation contained in the Department of Agriculture Order No. 8 issued in 2002 which regulates the importation of GMO products.

“GMO crops are being raised in the country since the 1990s. It includes corn, potato, soya beans and eggplants. These crops are components of food items like corn oil, corn starch, soy milk, soy bean oil, corn syrup, even junk foods and milk products while, aspartame is a genetically modified substance found in most sugar-free food and beverages.”  However, all of the mentioned crops are regularly produced and offered in the market, thus, knowing whether a produce is a GMO crop or not is a dilemma. 

“It is difficult to tell whether a corn is GMO or not, how much more if it is processed and becomes a component of a food product.” She further stresses, “Filipinos should do something to make food safe for their families.”

By doing so, Chua airs the need for a labeling law since it is the right of the consumers to “read the label.”  “We have to label the food if it is GMO free or not so the consumers can choose.”  Furthermore, while no labels are available for GMO by-products for now, she stresses that it is also the right of the public to inquire about GMO-free food from restaurants and supermarkets. 

“Spend time knowing more about your rights as consumers, and to buy or raise organic products (instead),” she concludes.

source: Manila Bulletin