After spate of food poisoning cases, Palaro sets safety measures
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The city government will be implementing strict monitoring of food preparation for delegates to the 2019 Palarong Pambansa, which will be held here starting April 27.
Michael Aportadera, the city sports division head, said the monitoring of the food preparation would be undertaken by the City Health Office (CHO), to ensure that the food that athletes will consume are safe.
“Each delegation has to adhere to the safety standards set by the CHO in the preparation of food to avoid food poisoning,” he said.
During the Southern Mindanao athletic meet in February 2018, at least 38 athletes and coaches were rushed to various hospitals here after being downed purportedly by contaminated food.
Assistant City Administrator Lawrence Bantiding said then that the food poisoning incident affected athletes from the Mati City contingent, who were served food prepared by cooks that the contingent brought in.
The incident did not prevent the athletes from later on competing in their games.
Last week, more than 60 athletes competing in the Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association (EVRAA) meet in Biliran also suffered from apparent food poisoning.
Aportadera told reporters here that to ensure food safety, the CHO will also conduct a basic food handling seminar for the food committees of every delegation.
“This is for them to know the proper ways of cooking their food and also to ensure sanitation,” he said.
Aportadera said one of the things the CHO will watch for is the tendency of cooks to recycle food.
Health officials had warned that food recycling is not advisable especially with the rising heat index as food tend to spoil faster during hot months.
In the February 2018 incident, food recycling was blamed by authorities.
In an earlier interview, Department of Education (Deped) Southern Mindanao spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said that the DepEd will help in the day to day monitoring of food preparation by each contingent and to make sure that billeting quarters and kitchen areas are clean.
He said as in the recent staging of the regional meet, all kitchen staff would be made to undergo training on food handling and preparation.
Aportadera said because of the weather, the city government will put up more drinking stations to keep the athletes hydrated at all times “to avoid any incidence of dehydration due to high heat index.”
At least 15,000 athletes and officials from all over the country will be staying in the city for the sporting event. – Rappler.com
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