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DOST cooks up 'calamity-proof' instant arroz caldo for relief ops

Lugaw is "essential," but so is calamity-proof and ready-to-eat arroz caldo!

Amid recent calamities brought by monsoon rains and the Taal Volcano, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has come up with a no-cook porridge that can withstand the elements. 

Supervising Science Research Specialist Grace Noceja of the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) said the shock-proof and water-resistant "Ready-to-Eat Arroz Caldo" was packaged using the retort pouch packaging technology to make them shelf-stable.

Noceja, who is from the DOST-ITDI Packaging Technology Division that came up with the product's packaging, said the ready-to-eat arroz caldo has a shelf life of one year.

"Kahit yung produkto nasa ambient condition lang and hindi mo kailangan ilagay sa refrigerator as long as completely sealed ay tatagal ang shelf life (The product can last even under an ambient condition, without being stored in a refrigerator, as long as it is sealed)," she said.

"The product can be dropped from 20 feet [above the ground] and underwent a water submersion test and we found out that even in worst cases like flood, the product can still safely reach victims of calamities," she added.

Ma. Concepion Buan, president of the Kai Anya Foods International Corp. which makes the arroz caldo, said their product - which packs the same nutrients and minerals of a typical arroz caldo - can be eaten directly from the pouch without adding water and without using utensils.

“Kapag sa panahon ng bagyo ganyan lang ‘yan. Hindi na kailangan ng kutsara, isang tunggaan lang ‘yan. Hindi mo na kailangan ng tubig,” Buan said.

(During inclement weather, you no longer need any utensils. You just take this in one gulp. And no need to add water.)

Buan said this kind of relief goods has allowed them to fulfill their mission of helping the public.

“Nandoon ‘yung tuwa. Nandoon ‘yung tuwa na at least ‘yung aming mission na makapagbigay ng tulong sa mga kapwa Pilipino masasagot na,” she said.

Noceja said their division has been coming up with disaster relief goods since 2012.

"Kailangan natin ng suitable na pagkain sa first stage. Ito yung condition na walang kuryente walang tubig. Para sa bansa nating madalas na dinaadaan ng bagyo, kailangan maging ready tayo sa ganitong situation," she said.

The Ready-to-Eat Arroz Caldo is one of the nominees for this year’s DOST Philippines best commercialization story. -MDM, GMA News