The National Nutrition Council 11 (NNC 11) has called out several groups and organizations engaged in food donations not to include milk in their packs.
Dr. Maria Teresa Ungson, regional nutrition program coordinator of NNC 11, said in a virtual presser on Wednesday that there is a tendency that milk put in relief packs will be administered to infants.
Ungson said giving of milk to infants during emergencies is a violation of the Executive Order (E.O) No. 51 or the Milk Code of the Philippines that aims to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by the protection and promotion of breast feeding and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes and breastmilk supplements when necessary.
“Dapat walang gatas sa mga relief packs na pinamimigay sa pamilya. Some homes have infants at may tendency na mabigay ang gatas sa infants. May batas po tayo,” she said.
Ungson reiterated that breastfeeding is still the best way to feed infants even during the pandemic.
“We don’t mean anything bad but we just want to enforce the law. Yung mga good hearted people maganda ang kanilang hangarin pero sana huwag maglagay ng gatas sa food packs kasi labag sa batas. If you want to give the best to the future of the world and the Philippines then we have to give the best milk and that is breast milk. Sana maintinidihan ito ng mga donors natin who has the good intention to help,” she said.
The Department of Health (DOH)-NNC nutrition cluster recommends that family food packs should contain age- and culturally-appropriate, clean and diversified nutritious food items such as rice, beans, eggs or other protein source food, cooking oil, sugar, salt, coffee, canned food items and other processed food products preferably those which have been adequately fortified with vitamin A, iron or iodine. A list of FDA-approved fortified food items and bearing the Sangkap Pinoy Seal.
It also recommends that local government units (LGUs) should consider that some recipients of the family food pack have young children, pregnant and lactating mothers as members and is encouraged that through the Barangay Nutrition Scholars and Barangay Health Workers, these families are located so that they can be continuously monitored, provided low-cost, one dish-meal recipes and recipes utilizing relief goods.
The regional office of NNC strongly advised donors to stop sending milk donations to victims of recent earthquakes at evacuation centers to avoid potential risks of diarrhea among children in the evacuation centers.