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Vol. XXVI, 4th Quarter
October – December 2008

Iron fortified rice and veggie noodles

Filipinos may be strange rice and pancit lovers, pairing noodles with rice with much gusto. Now there’s a healthier reason to chug-a-lug rice with pancit.

Food experts at the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute successfully developed rice enriched with iron, and noodles enriched with nutrients from vegetables. These new food technologies could enhance the average Filipino’s usual carbo-loaded diet.

According to FNRI’s study, 32% of Filipino women are anemic while 40–50% of the population is iron deficient. Iron fortified rice, which contains 6 mg of iron per 100 g of rice, can improve the low iron intake of Filipinos. A day’s consumption of about four to six cups is expected to meet the daily iron requirement of the body.

Cooked like any ordinary rice, the iron-fortified rice is actually pre-mixed iron-fortified rice grain. When consumed regularly, iron fortified rice will help produce healthy red blood cells, improve physical and mental performance, prevent anemia, and strengthen the body against infection.

Meanwhile, the FNRI-developed nutri veggie noodles will surely delight the diet-conscious pancit loving folks. Aside from providing nutrients at an affordable price, this pancit canton also reduces crop wastage.

A serving of 50 gram canton noodles with squash provides significant amount of energy (16%), protein (20%), and vitamin A (24%) of the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intake (RENI) for children 4-6 years of age.

Squash-supplemented noodle products include canton, fresh miki, instant cup noodles, and spaghetti.

Squash noodles have an enticing yellow color, natural and bright, while seaweed and saluyot noodles have an attractive green color. Veggie noodles do not have any distinguishable odor nor are they any different in texture compared with regular commercial noodles. Moreover, they are also cooked the same way as regular noodles.

Nutri veggie noodles is now marketed under the brand Proud Harvest, the latest tie-up among DOST, Benguet State University, the Go Negosyo Advocacy group headed by Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, and other agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Food Authority, Office of the President, and the Province of Benguet.

Proponents said the development of nutri veggie noodles aims to create greater demand for vegetables as inputs to consumer products. As such, the added value will help reduce spoilage of raw vegetable produce.

“Now farmers have bigger market for their produce as these can be converted into stable and convenient food forms for wider distribution and consumption, increased income and employment, and improved nutrition among consumers,” BSU President Rogelio Colting said.

Veggie noodles are also carried by various brands such as Talledo's Miki Commercial in Abra, PhilNerry Food Products in Nueva Ecija, Marinduque Food Processing Center in Marinduque, Cleafar Enterprise Cooperative in Davao, Montanosa Research and Development Center Incorporated in Mountain Province, and QF Enterprise in Benguet.

Other food technologies developed by FNRI-DOST include noodles, curls, crunchies, pre-cooked weaning baby food, high fiber juice drinks, nata products, foods for disaster/calamity, fortified foods, soybean products, convenient food, ethnic food, street food, and flour using squash, coconut, mongo, gabi, fish, and banana.

[For further information on FNRI’s ready-to-commercialize food technologies, please contact Dr. Mario Capanzana, Director, FNRI-DOST, at (632) 837-2934 or (632) 837-3164 or visit http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph]
(Framelia V. Anonas with report from Charina Javier, S&T Media Service)