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Street food in Davao City, CDO, Laguna and UP Diliman unsafe, study shows

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Street food in Davao City, CDO, Laguna and UP Diliman unsafe, study shows

/ 01:35 PM January 25, 2012

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The results of a study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology and the German-funded Center for International Migration and Development show that street food sold in Davao City, Cagayan de Oro, Laguna and areas around the UP Diliman campus in Quezon City is unsafe.

Anthony Sales, DOST’s director for Southern Mindanao, and Dietmar Speckmaier, CIM food safety consultant, discussed preliminary findings of tests conducted  on some 40 samples of street food sold in Davao with local journalists on Monday and said the results were “basically the same” in the other places.

While the tests and analysis of the results would be completed sometime in February, the initial findings of high bacteria content were alarming enough, Sales said.

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He cautioned the public against consuming food sold on the streets here and other places pending measures to make street food safe.

The food samples that were tested here in coordination with the University of the Philippines’ Mindanao campus included “kwek-kwek” (deep-fried hard-boiled egg dipped in batter), “isaw” or pig or chicken intestines, various grilled meats and juice drinks, among others.

“Initial results of the study showed significant amounts of pathogens like salmonella and E. coli,” Speckmaier said. “The amount is significant enough to make people sick.”

He said the contamination might have been caused by poor personal hygiene among vendors or those who prepared the food.

He said the food sold on the city’s streets, as well as in the other places were similar tests were conducted, was not covered and was exposed to dust and flies.

Speckmier said that the 40 food samples included in the tests here were statistically enough to represent the food sold by the estimated 1,000 street food vendors in the city.

“We’re not trying to destroy the food street vendors sector; we’re trying to groom this sector,” Speckmaier said.

He said CIM was eyeing food safety training for street vendors so they could comply with sanitation and safety standards.

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Sales said DOST would also lobby for the passage of an ordinance that would require vendors to submit samples of their foodstuffs before they would be allowed to sell them.

He said a draft ordinance has been drafted in coordination with Councilor Pilar Braga, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s committee on trade, commerce, and industry.

Another move, he said, would be the provision of food carts to vendors.

Each cart, equipped with stainless food and water containers,  would cost between P10,000 and P20,000 and will be part of the DOST’s assistance to street food vendors.

Specific results of the tests in Cagayan de Oro, Laguna and areas around the UP Diliman campus were not discussed.

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TAGS: Food, Public Health, sanitation, Small business
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