Health info on food package pushed

January 26, 2023 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 498 views

SENATOR Raffy Tulfo filed a measure mandating the use of a health rating system on the labels of packaged food products, in addition to the standard nutritional facts label.

In filing Senate Bill (SB) No. 1684, Tulfo underscored the need to arm Filipinos with the necessary information on the food they choose to consume to help save them from life-threatening diseases.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of health and wellness; this includes comprehensive knowledge of the food individuals consume. Undeniably, people who maintain a healthy diet will have a lower risk of serious illnesses and enjoy a better quality of life,” the bill’s explanatory note stated.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), the leading cause of death in the Philippines are diseases of the heart, vascular system, and respiratory system, along with malignant cancers, and diabetes.

Tulfo has raised concerns on the high level of sodium in instant noodles and canned sardines, which are popular among the low-income families who are not aware of the health hazards of consuming these.

Tulfo said the use of a Rating System on labels of packaged food products, as proposed on SB No. 1684, will allow Filipinos to have a better knowledge of the food they eat.

The Health Rating System measures the overall nutritional profile of packaged food products from one “1” (the least nutritious) to five “5” (the most nutritious).

The said rating system is calculated based on the total Energy or Kilojoules, saturated fat, sodium, sugar content and fiber.

In terms of labelling, The Health Rating System will be placed at the front of the packaged food product. In addition to this, the packaged food product’s nutrient content will be shown below or beside the Health Rating.