They came to seek more information and knowledge on safe food and snacks for their children as school snacks have been their children’s ‘closest friend’ during school time. Indeed, mothers constitute the front guard in deciding what is best for the family to eat.
On this special occasion, the Deputy Minister for Food and Hazardous Materials Safety Control, DR. Roy Sparringa, presented in a talk show on My Children’s Safe School Snack. Citing a report on the Monitoring and Verification Results of National Program of Food and School Snacks Safety (2008) he estimated that 48% of elementary school students in Jakarta frequently/regularly (≥ 4 times/ week), 51% seldom, and only 1% never buy snacks from school canteen or street snack vendors. This means that school snacks play a strategic role in fulfilling the need for nutritious food and in maintaining students’ learning resilience.
Why did the monitoring program have elementary school students as its target? It is because precisely at their age level that the students are in the period of financial training, during which their parents begin to trust them with some pocket money to manage, one among other uses being for buying their meals during school time. Moreover, in this very condition, street/school snack vendor and canteen play their part in providing/selling snacks at the price level common for elementary schoolers.
Safe foods and drinks should be sterile from biological, chemical, and physical hazards; otherwise, they may cause short or long term (cumulative) negative effects on human health. The lack of knowledge and care in the part of food consumers, producers, or vendors about food and drink safety is among other factors behind so many kinds of low-quality, non-nutritious, and unsafe food’s still being in the market and consumed by so many people.
The survey shows that only in 40-44% of 180 thousands of elementary schools in Indonesia are safe school snacks available. This low rate of safe food availability has encouraged the NA-DFC to make some breakthroughs by conducting a National Action for Food Safety. The Action was accomplished as a strategy in the empowerment of school community, which includes parents, students, teachers, school canteen operators, and street/school snack vendors, in an independent effort of controlling the safety of school snacks and food.
The so-called “BPOM Sahabat Ibu” was facilitated by the Public Relations Bureau of the Agency and was sponsored by The Body Shop Indonesia. For the long run, this program was intended to go continuously taking on different topics. Hopefully, this would be the beginning of a societal movement of becoming smart consumers capable of defending themselves from consuming medicines and foods that are precarious to their health.•••