2021 Declared as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

2021 Declared as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables

January 8, 2021. It’s nothing new that fruits and vegetables are good for you. Yet studies show that we, Filipinos, mostly do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.  In 2016, a study of consumption patterns for fruits and vegetables showed that the average consumption of Filipinos (particularly adolescents) is 343 grams per day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that a person consume at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables per day to reap its nutritional and health benefits.

With the aim of raising awareness of, directing policy attention to, and sharing good practices on the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, the contribution of fruit and vegetable consumption to the promotion of diversified, balanced and healthy diets and lifestyles, and reducing loss and waste of fruits and vegetables, the United Nation (UN) General Assembly has declared the year 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV).

True to its mandates, the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards of the Department of Agriculture is at the forefront and fully supports the celebration of the IYFV 2021 as we commit to develop and promote agricultural and fishery standards, and enforce organic agriculture regulations ensuring consumers’ safety and product quality, contributing to environmental protection, worker's welfare and enhanced market access.

According to the Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures 2015 Dietary Survey published by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-FNRI), the most common vegetables consumed by Filipino households were tomato (22.2%), malunggay leaves (20.3%), string beans (18.1%), squash (15.9%), eggplant (19.5%), and okra (14.3%).

Clearly, intake of the right quantity of fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy diet. Several studies conclude that fruits and vegetables help prevent all forms of malnutrition and reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

On one end, fruits and vegetables are mostly perishable and fragile and prone to contamination of pathogens and chemicals that are note safe for human consumption. This has led to food loss and wastage. Food safety and quality is at the forefront along the value chain.

Consumers cannot easily judge the safety and quality aspects of food, especially processed products. This is one of the main reasons why international bodies (FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius), government bodies, individual firms or food enterprises and non-government organizations set standards and/or technical regulations to guarantee the quality and safety of produce. With these food safety and quality standards and related regulations in place, this will assure consumers that a food or product has been produced and processed conforming to standards and compliance with relevant technical regulations. ###