BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance prohibiting all supermarkets, food chains and other similar establishments from throwing away and spoiling unsold food.
The ordinance authored by Acting Vice-Mayor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated the proposed local legislative measure shall apply to supermarkets, food chains and other similar establishments whose classification as such shall be determined by the Department of Trade and Industry based on size, number of clientele, and amount of food being sold, distributed or manufactured for public consumption.
Under the proposal, it shall be unlawful for any supermarket, food chain and other similarly situated establishments to throw away and spoil food.
Yangot proposed that any person, natural or juridical, who shall violate the pertinent provisions of the ordinance shall be fined anywhere from P1,000 to P5,000 depending on the amount of food thrown away or spoiled unsold food.
Moreover, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is empowered to increase penalties on the basis of prevailing economic indicators such as, but not limited to, inflation rate and consumer price index.
The ordinance added the DTI, in coordination with the City Health Services Office, shall promulgate rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the provisions of the measure and for the said offices to monitor strict compliance of the concerned establishments.
Yangot underscored that it has been a declared policy of the State to establish and maintain an effective food regulatory system that shall address the needs of every Filipino, especially those in the marginalized sector and living below the poverty threshold, and equally important is that such regulatory system shall be able to secure nutritional balance while addressing food waste.
According to him, food waste is a serious issue not only in the Philippines but also in the world.
Based on the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the rate of Filipino children under 5 years old who are stunted in 2013 is pegged at 30.3 percent, and 13.9 million Filipinos are undernourished in the years 2014 to 2016.
Yangot claimed the latest food consumption survey by the Nutrition Research Institute in 2013 showed that 69.4 percent, or 7 in 10 Filipino households, do not meet their dietary energy requirement. For instance with rice, every Filipino wastes an average of 3.3 kilos annually, which translates to 296,869 metric tons amounting to P7.3 million.
Yangot explained the proposal does not seek to completely address food waste, however it is aimed to make a difference and initiate further awareness in addressing food waste and health risk derived from spoiled food. Extreme hunger has been linked to the spread of ‘pagpag’ which refers to leftover food from restaurants and includes expired frozen meat, fish or vegetables discarded by supermarkets which is later on scavenged from garbage bins.
By Dexter A. See