Creation of national bakery regulatory agency pushed

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Seeking to combat malnutrition and hunger in the country, through enriched bread and bakery products, lawmakers are proposing the creation of an agency that shall serve as the primary policy formulation, regulatory and information-based agency of the country geared towards the maintenance of health standards in the preparation of food products of bakeries throughout the country.

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Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) said House Bill 3289 aims to raise the health of the people, through optimal nutritious bread and bakery goods.

Rodriguez said a practical strategy endorsed by international organizations to combat hunger and eliminate or reduce malnutrition is the enrichment of bread and bakery products with key micro-nutrients.

Rodriguez said as early as the 1940’s, the internationally accepted standard for one pound average loaf of enriched bread is that it should contain the minimum daily requirements of thiamine (B), riboflavin B2, niacin and Vitamin D.

“Originally, the aim of bread and bakery goods enrichment was to restore vital nutrients lost in the milling process. Today, enrichment of bread cereal products is to take advantage of bread being the basis or an integral part of modern day diet and optimize ingestion by food of these micro-nutrients by normal eating,” Rodriguez said.

Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), co-author of the bill, said the baking industry as part of the food manufacturing sector is a significant component for socio-economic development.

“The organization of a Bakery Industry Development Board to promote health, protect consumer rights and upgrade the standards of bakeries is truly commendable. The baking industry as part of the food manufacturing sector is a significant component for socio-economic development,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said at the initiative of the baking industry and the Philippine Federation of Bakers’ Association, the industry wishes to contribute not only to health of the people, protect consumer rights but also set up standards for quality baking, packaging with expiration dates, but also for the purpose of efficient management, safety during production and reasonable costs to maximize access to nutritious bread and bakery products.

“The measure is a response to the need for improving the problem on malnutrition of our children and youth, upgrading bakery standards and setting a momentum to accelerate economic development through the baking industry,” Rodriguez said.

Under the bill to be known as the “National Bakery Policy Act of the Philippines of 2013,” a National Bakery Regulatory Agency is created to implement all laws, rules and directives regulating and promoting the bakery industry in the country.

It shall establish a national program geared towards the promotion of the bakery industry in the country, institute training and educational programs geared towards the development of skills of bakery workers and develop training and educational programs to assist entrepreneurs and bakery operators in order to make their businesses viable and self-sustaining.

The Agency is also tasked to formulate and implement policies geared towards providing incentives to stakeholders in the bakery industry and institute other programs that may be determined by the Executive Board. PNA

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