Friday, October 20, 2017

Human Pet Food or Solidarity Food

Prosecutors in Brazil’s biggest city have opened an inquiry into a controversial plan to feed poorer citizens and schoolchildren with a flour made out of food close to its sell-by date that critics have described as “human pet food”. Farinata comes in the form of a flour or as pellets

João Doria, the multi-millionaire conservative mayor of São Paulo, and the city’s Catholic cardinal, Dom Odilo Scherer, have said that the product, called farinata (farinha is flour in Portuguese), will help alleviate hunger at no cost to the city’s government.

Prosecutors have demanded more information about the nutritional content of the new food and what testing, if any, has been done after concerns were raised by the Regional Council of Nutritionists and other bodies.

“There is an uncertainly over the nutritional value of this food,” José Bonilha, a São Paulo state prosecutor, told the Guardian. “What were the tests and the documents that authorised the announcement of its introduction?”

Doria, former host of Brazil’s version of The Apprentice, touted as a possible candidate for next year’s presidential elections described farinata as “solidarity food” and said it was “made to combat hunger and also supplement people’s alimentation”.
“I am offended when people say it is pet food,” Cardinal Scherer. “The concern is to recall food from restaurants that is ready for use and for it to be safely put on the table of those who are hungry rather than thrown away.”
“It is not food, it is an ultra-processed product,” said Marly Cardoso, a professor of public health and nutrition at the Federal University of São Paulo. “You don’t know what is in it...Is city hall trying to resolve the problems of these companies who are looking for a use for this food that they can’t sell?” she said. 
Vivian Zollar, a nutritionist and member of Regional Council of Nutritionists for São Paulo and Minas Gerais states said she was worried about plans reported in local media to give farinata to schoolchildren because the council had not been able to confirm that the product had undergone the safety and nutritional tests legally required for school meals.
“We need to know if this product is safe, if it has conditions to be offered,” she said. “Without this information it is very difficult to be sure.”

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