Unfortunately, most of Indonesian people do not have a habit of consuming nutritious, as their diet is less varied resulted in an unbalanced nutrition intake. The impact is that malnutrition still becomes a threat to the future of Indonesian children. Until the end of 2019, the prevalence of stunting in Indonesia is still around 30%, which means that 3 out of 10 Indonesian children are stunting.
Dr. dr. Tubagus Rachmat Sentika SpA.MARS, a pediatrician who is also the host of ‘Pojok Konsultasi’ on ‘Nutrisi Keluarga’ said, the high stunting rate in Indonesia due to the lack of knowledge and awareness of the nutritional needs for the family. “We eat only to be full and tasty. Very few people and families consider the adequacy of nutrition when consuming food,” explained Rachmat, in an interview conducted after the webinar “Ready to be a Stunting-Free Gold Generation Mother”on Tuesday (6/30).
In addition to habits and lifestyles, lack of knowledge about nutrition also contributes to the problem of stunting and malnutrition. Based on the World’s Most Literate Nations which shows the level of literacy, Indonesia generally occupies the second lowest position (60th out of 61 countries) in the World’s Most Literate Nations. That means that public awareness to read, find out and understand information about nutrition is still very low.
“People with good nutritional literacy will understand their nutritional needs, and carefully read information labels on processed foods they consumed. Since we are not accustomed to reading labels, then we so often consume the wrong foods. An example is sweetened condensed products. There are still parents who give this as milk for children. If this is left unaddressed, Indonesia will experience a children’s health emergency,” explained Dr. Rachmat.
Since the discovery of malnourished children who consumed sweetened condensed milk in Kendari and Batam in 2018, BPOM has officially issued a regulation on processed food labels, including regulating sweetened condensed milk (SKM) through the regulation of the BPOM Head (Perka) BPOM No.31 of 2018 concerning Processed Food Labels. This regulation requires manufacturers to put a number of information on the SKM label so that the public can use this product according to its function. On the SKM label, producers must include information that SKM is not to replace breast milk, is not suitable for babies up to 12 months of age, and cannot be used as the only source of nutrition. The label regulation was made to avoid the use of SKM by the public as a substitute for ASI. In fact, babies at a certain age really need breast milk that cannot be replaced by any milk product category. Producers who do not meet the provisions until the deadline will be subject to administrative sanctions. The most severe sanctions are product withdrawals from the market because of the risk of disturbing public health.
On a separate occasion, Member of the House of Representatives of Commission IX Hj. Intan Fitriana Fauzi, SH., LL.M, regretted that the implementation of the regulation had not reached the community level. "There are still many people who give SKM to their children. Even though it's clear that SKM is not milk and has no protein at all,” said Intan. Therefore, she asked BPOM through its Enforcement Division to be more assertive in supervising producers who still had not implemented the regulations on the SKM Label. “I request BPOM to be more assertive that if there is a violation from the producer of the regulation, action must be taken,” she said.
Intan also promised to bring up the issue that SKM is not milk to the working meeting between Commission IX and the Minister of Health and BPOM.
“SKM is not milk, but producers still convey to the public that it is milk through the naming of their SKM product labels. It is this naming of milk that is then immediately captured by the community and it is very dangerous for the children who consume it,” she said.
According to Intan, Commission IX would also work closely with Commission I of the Indonesian Parliament so that SKM advertisements circulating in the public would not create confusion over the naming of milk on the label. “I agree we must socialize that SKM is not milk, because the content is not for children's health. I will also do it to the people in my electoral district during recesses period,” closed Intan. (E8/*)/Rls).