Beware of street food amid summer heat

THE Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6 warned the public that the extreme summer heat could spoil street food like roast corn if not handled and stored properly. (Ricky D. Alejo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

WARNING: extreme heat could spoil our food.

This was the warning of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD)-6 to the public, especially those who are fond of street food.

The health department issued the warning because of the soaring temperature in the city brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

Dr. Elvie Villalobos, head of the DOH-6’s Infectious and Emerging Disease Cluster, encouraged the public to be wary of buying street food amid the extreme heat.

“Foods that are staying for more than four hours in the environment are at risk of contamination. Ang mga ready to eat food amo na ang delikado,” he said.

Villalobos said food that was exposed to the environment for more than four hours should either be refrigerated or reheated.

He also appealed to local government units (LGUs) to regulate and ensure that ambulant food and street food vendors are following the guidelines of food safety.

“Ginapanugyan naton sa mga LGU nga dapat ang mga ambulant street food vendors iregulate nila nga ang ginabaligya nila ga-follow food safety,” he said.

Data from DOH-6 indicated that food poisoning downed 449 individuals in Western Visayas (with one death) from January to October 2018.

In the same period in 2017, the health department recorded 299 cases with 15 deaths.

On Thursday, Iloilo City registered its highest heat index (human discomfort index that gives the “apparent” temperature) since 2010 at 48 degrees Celsius (°C), according to the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) on May 2, 2019.

The 48°C temperature is classified as “danger” by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Under this classification, heat cramps and exhaustion are likely to be experienced and heat stroke
is probable with continued strenuous activity.