By Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco/PIA-1, Ilocos Norte
LAOAG CITY, July 18 (PIA) – The schools division of Ilocos Norte enforces the “no soft drinks, no junk foods” policy as stated in Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 13.
The new order or the Policy and Guideline on Healthy Food and Beverage Choices in Schools and DepEd offices is the revision of the same order earlier released in 2007.
Audrey Albano, coordinator of Canteen and Food Safety Program of the schools division, said that the policy also laid down a practical guide on food and drink preferences for schools to sell in the canteens.
Food and beverages in school canteens are categorized as “green”, “yellow”, and “red.”
“Green, yellow, and red categories will have to be implemented in every school canteen in the division to direct them what to sell,” Albano said.
Foods such as boiled bananas and sweet potatoes, and unsweetened coconut juice fall under the “green” category.
The “yellow” category foods include the unsweetened bottled fruit juices sold every Tuesday and Thursday.
Soft drinks, energy drinks, sweetened bottled waters, alcoholic drinks, fries, ice creams, chocolates, candies, and other salted and sweetened foods fall under the “red” category. Under this group, these foods and drinks are not suggested in the canteen menu.
Although there are junk foods that can be considered in the yellow category, Albano said that the schools division decided to disregard those junk foods to be sold in canteen.
Moreover, she said that they have been trained to check on the nutritional facts of the foods they serve.
“In the orientation-workshop we attended with regard to the DepEd policy, we were taught to check the nutritional facts and not to rely on the ‘sangkap pinoy’. With this, we are able to pinpoint foods and drinks that should be sold in canteens,” she said.
In addition, the policy also states that 100 meters is the appropriate distance between every store and school.
“If ever the store is only in front of the school or nearer than 100 meters, the school should communicate with the barangay or even the local government unit (LGU) to tell the store owners to relocate or move away near the school, because there are some that don’t comply. The Department of Health (DOH) should also help us with this circumstance,” Albano added.
In complying to the policy, Superintendent Vilma Eda is hopeful that every school prioritizes and puts extra effort in maintaining good health and nutrition of the pupils. (Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco/PIA-1, Ilocos Norte)