July 16, 2024

The Baguio City Health Services Office (CHSO) is reminding the public to practice food safety to prevent foodborne diseases due to the changing weather pattern.

Acting CHSO Head, Dr. Celia Flor Brillantes said with the rainy season, sometimes the water system might be affected in certain households.

“Always keep the water sources from your house safe, especially those that are used for cooking and drinking,” Brillantes said.

Households should make sure that these water sources are free from any pathogens, viruses, and bacteria which are carried by insects, animals and humans. 

That is why it is important to make sure that the food preparation is clean and safe, as foodborne and waterborne diseases are rising aside from dengue diseases this rainy season, according to Brillantes.

 The World Health Organization reported the five keys to safer food are: to keep it clean, cook thoroughly, separate raw and cooked food, keep food at safe temperatures such as using refrigerators, use safe water and raw materials.

The common effects of the consumption of contaminated food and beverages or food poisoning are: nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, fever, kidney damage, among others.

Early this year, City Hall has declared a gastroenteritis outbreak which affected over 3,000 people from the middle of December 2023 to middle of January 2024. 

Investigations showed that deep wells where water delivery trucks source their supply, which are then delivered to households and establishments, caused the outbreak.

Last May, City Halls has issued notices of violation to eight deep well business operators who ceased operations for testing positive for water contamination during the first quarter.

The Sanitation Division of the CHSO said these were immediately shut down and allowed to operate only upon obtaining negative test results from succeeding tests.

The public was also told to implement corrective measures to ensure the safety of their commodity in compliance with the stringent water safety measures implemented by the city.

Owners of deep wells and water delivery truck businesses formed an organization called Deepwell Owners and Water Delivery Operation Association, Inc. with 35 members to police their rank from illegal practices.

The purified water refilling stations had long organized themselves as Baguio Association of Purified and Mineral Water Refillers, Inc. – Ofelia C. Empian