DELEGATES of the Davao Region Athletic Association meet started pouring in over the weekend, with the city up on their feet and toes, the security and accommodations ensured.
Except that, over at Sta. Ana National High School where the contingent of Mati City, Davao Oriental are, around 40 student-athletes, coaches and kitchen crew were downed by something they ate Saturday night. They were rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center and treated.
But when you are hosting 7,200 delegates, mishaps can indeed happen. We just hope and pray that this will be the last.
From what SunStar Davao learned, each delegation has its own kitchen staff. Meaning food is prepared by their own right where their accommodations are. This further means that food handling safety has to be a top priority.
We must always remember that we are in a tropical country where temperature averages 30 degrees Centigrade during daytime. Raw food that is not properly handled and kept in refrigerators when not yet being cooked can become poison quickly. It will help if a school official knowledgeable on food safety practices is assigned at every kitchen to ensure that protocols are observed. Kitchen crew must have hairnets and face masks and observe good personal hygiene. Washing of hands before and after handling raw meat is a must, the same with every start of food preparation, and after using the toilet.
Make sure to keep raw food separate from cooked food. Meat should be cooked properly up to its innermost parts. Stew them for hours or fry them in deep boiling oil. Never rush.
There are a lot of other considerations and practices that have to be observed. Let us just remember, these are children who need to compete. They have to be nourished properly and their food must be safe from contamination.
Let each delegation take extra care on what, where, when, and how the children are being nourished to compete another day.
As has been said, the devil is in the details. Focus has to be on the details to ensure the health and welfare of each and every delegate because most of the time, the routine is what creates the problem... like food handling.
Let's just be thankful that we have the paramedics and well-equipped emergency medical service as well as public hospital to take care of our children. But it will be better if we do not have any use for these for the rest of the Meet.
To all Davraa 2018 delegates, welcome and all the best.