THE case of food poisoning suspected to have emanated from a flavored shake that landed 15 children and an adult in the hospital last Friday underlines the need for greater concern about what is being served our children when they are supposed to be in school. Like shakes.

Shakes used to be made up exclusively of fresh fruits blended with milk and sugar in ice or plain milk with blended ice or chocolate flavored ones. But now, they are in indistinguishable powder form with flavors. The shake the children tasted was in bubble gum form. Imagine what could have gone into that powder to approximate the taste of bubble gum in amounts much greater than any amount of bubble gum you can chew the whole day.

Imagine the junk that is entering your child’s body -- the chemicals made to reproduce a taste that is not there...That our vegetables are mostly laced with pesticides is already bad enough. That we develop the taste of our children to appreciate the taste of drinks from some powdered form we are not so sure is made up of what, is worse. The Department of Health reported that cases of kidney diseases are rising so fast such that records from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) show that dialysis patients are now the number one in terms of accounts served by Philhealth, outranking childbirth that has been number one for decades past.

Go visit a dialysis center here, which if you notice has also been mushrooming. Used to be there were just hospital-based dialysis machines, now there are several dialysis centers aside from the ones inside hospitals, that should give you an idea how bad the situation is. Inside these dialysis centers are not just old people who tend to have various diseases, including those that involve the kidney, but very young patients as well. Many in their teens.

Our kidneys filter the waste products from our blood that we put there through our food. When you put in more waste than kidney can actually process, then your kidneys will malfunction. There’s salt, the most common culprit for kidney breakdown. Then our favorite carbonated softdrinks and energy drinks that have been associated with formation of kidney stones, and also showed links to developing chronic kidney diseases. Then processed food, especially processed meat, that are full of salt and nitrates and other stuff to preserve it.

Lastly, a high-meat diet as protein metabolism places a heavy load on the kidneys. As if that wasn’t enough, we put in the questionable drinks from some suspicious powder we do not even know how these were processed. While food poisoning may be of immediate concern because that’s when we see our children being rushed to the hospital as soon as they have ingested something bad, we should be concerned as well to the stuff that is slowly poisoning our children’s body.