The country’s health and food safety experts as well as environmental policy planners assembled at the “Greening the Food Services Forum-Workshop” last March 10, 2011 at the Kabalikat Conference Hall, DENR Building, Quezon City. The forum-workshop was organized by the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Inc which is the administrator of the National Ecolabeling Programme-Green Choice Philippines.
They discussed how greening the food service industry in restaurants, fast foods outlets, canteens and catering services will help the public avoid food and water-borne diseases brought about by eating out in fast foods outlets, canteens and restaurants. National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC) Executive Director Emilia Aguinaldo presented the government’s Solid Waste policies for food services while University of the Philippines-National Health Institute (UP-NHI) Executive Director Dr. Lulu Bravo discussed on the issues and concerns of the Food-borne diseases. Also present was Ruby Apilado of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute who discussed on the Standards on Food Nutrition. Last resource speaker for the day was Mr. Chito Macapagal, VP for Corporate Affairs of Unilever Philippines who talked about the company’s initiatives in nutritional labeling and waste management.
The forum came up with agreements on 5 major considerations for the development of environmental guidelines for ecolabeling the food services in the country: 1)solid waste management 2) water effluent 3) energy use 4) Nutritional Labeling 5) Food safety. Key representatives from SM Group of companies, Ayala Foundation, Pasig City and Quezon City Government had shown strong interest to implement the ecolabeling of their food service tenants and business establishments. Representatives of the Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, Department of Health, Food and Nutrition Council, Drugstores Association of the Philippines, Diabetes Association of the Philippines, Philippine Nurses Association, Ecolab Philippines, Kimberly Clark Philippines each gave their inputs for the proposed technical working group who will work on the guidelines. Promotional activities were also presented to advocate with the public a food and health safety campaign to food service providers and establishments.
Eco-labeling is the process of putting a seal to products and services having shown environmental performance leadership. Consumers will be assured of high-quality and environmental compliance of the product or service, having undergone a rigid evaluation process before the seal is awarded. The holder of the seal is subject to periodic environmental audit which assures the public of continuous environmental leadership of the product or service. The Philippines has the “GREEN CHOICE “seal as its national eco-label.