The Department of Health reiterates the importance of food safety as 125 students were reported to be poisoned in Pio Del Pilar Elementary School in Makati City on Thursday, January 14 2016, after they ate snacks bought from the school canteen. Currently, 123 students were eventually sent home while two students were still admitted in the hospital for observation.
“DOH is closely coordinating with the City Health Office of Makati in monitoring the affected patients. Samples of food from the school canteen, commonly taken by the patients were brought to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for further analysis.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin said.
It was reported that the victims of the alleged food poisoning were rushed to the hospital after experiencing dizziness, vomiting and abdominal pain. During recess, the students bought snacks from the school canteen. Currently, operations from the said canteen were suspended for further investigation.
The DOH reminded school administrators to ensure cleanliness when preparing and serving food to their consumers. Kitchen areas should be protected from insects, pests, and other animals. Avoid placing pesticides around the kitchen to kill indoor insects and rodent pests. Cleaning chemicals must be kept away from food and must be placed in proper containers with labels. Utensils must be washed and sanitized before using. Food handlers are also reminded to wash their hands before preparing food and when serving food to their customers. They are also reminded to stay home when sick so they will not contaminate the food being served. Hair nets and masks are also required during food preparation.
In addition, the health chief advised school administrators to seek for a health certificate issued by City or Municipal Health Officers to food handlers, employed in school canteens. Furthermore, they have to ensure that processed products being served are new and far from its expiration date. Meanwhile, raw ingredients like meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, vegetable and fruits must be fresh and cooked properly before serving to customers. During storage and preparation, raw food and cooked food must be separated to avoid contamination.
“Pinapaalahanan natin ang mga nakatatanda na maging maingat sa inihahain o ibinibigay sa ating mga estudyante. Ang paaralan ay itinuturing nilang pangalawang tahanan. Bukod sa edukasyon, pangalagaan natin ang kanilang kalusugan na kayamanan na maibabahagi sa kanilang kinabukasan.” Garin concluded.
– DOH Philippines