Imagine taking a walk through Baguio's busy Night Market on Harrison Road, where the mouthwatering scent of street food fills the air. You're tempted to try some. But there's a significant problem. Foodborne illnesses are a big concern in the Cordillera region. In the third quarter of 2023, the Department Of Health - Cordillera recorded 3,352 cases.
Foodborne illnesses happen when you eat food that has harmful germs like bacteria, viruses, or fungi. This isn't just a local issue; it's a global one. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 600 million people around the world get sick from these diseases each year, and sadly, 420,000 people lose their lives.
The situation in the Cordillera region is worrisome. Dr. Jennifer Joyce Pira, a Medical Officer, points out that one of the main reasons for these illnesses is eating street food. During a recent Kapehan sa Baguio Forum, she talked about the concerning practices of many street food vendors. They often mishandle food, engage in unhygienic behaviors (like spitting and nose-picking), and store food in unsafe conditions.
But there's hope. The Department Of Health - Cordillera is taking action. They're encouraging the public to be careful when choosing street food and urging street food vendors to get a sanitary permit to continue their operations.
To get this permit, vendors have to pass food safety inspections conducted by the agency. These checks ensure that the food is safe for everyone. It's not about stopping vendors from doing business; it's about making sure the food they sell is safe for us.
In a world full of delicious food, we should be able to enjoy street food without getting sick. With the Department Of Health - Cordillera taking care of safety and us being vigilant, we can enjoy the unique flavors of the Cordillera region without worrying about our health.
So, the next time you're tempted by that enticing street food aroma, will you be more cautious about your choices?