March 1, 2024

The head of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) cited innovation played a key role for the agency to address food insecurity.

“We at the FNRI have been looking for ways to make (food) products more accessible and nutritious. We analyze the nutrients of all the products we develop,” FNRI Director Imelda Agdeppa said in a televised briefing.

She cited as an example how the FNRI innovated the ingredients for the nutribun, making these as alternatives for the normal costing flour. Nutribun uses carrots, squash and sweet potato as ingredients.

The FNRI, she said, had used technology to make iron fortified rice using “broken rice”.

“That means the ‘broken rice’ are converted for human consumption, adding to the volume of rice supply in the country,” she said.

Agdeppa added the Education and Social Welfare departments also use iron-fortified rice in their food packs during disasters.

Also, as part of the FNRI’s move to alleviate food insecurity, Agdeppa said they also made an iodine drinking water.

“Iodine is good for the brain. Using technology, we add iodine to the water for children’s consumption,” she said.

Food insecurity, Agdeppa said, means there is limited access to sufficient and safe food. When there is food insecurity, people resort to reducing the amount and quality of food, she added. There are also instances when people would not eat for the whole day.

Without citing a figure, Agdeppa said there was an increase in obesity and overweight rates.

She said the pandemic has caused the increase since the people were not allowed to go out, and there was also the distribution of assistance or food.

“The problem with being obese or overweight is there is (a) higher probability to have hypertension, high cholesterol, and the heart could also be affected,” she emphasized.

Agdeppa noted that losing weight should be a wholistic approach, which means there’s physical activity and the right amount of food. – PNA