Freshly-baked bibingka made by CCA Manila chefs. Its golden hue is attributed to the rich beta carotene content of the Malusog Rice.

CCA Manila, DA-PhilRice, and IRRI partner to develop Malusog Rice recipes for Nutrition Month

July 21, 2023

The country’s top culinary school, CCA Manila, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), is proud to announce a partnership to develop a range of recipes using Malusog Rice as the main ingredient. This collaboration aims to celebrate Nutrition Month and promote the nutritional benefits of Malusog Rice, a groundbreaking variety of rice developed to help address vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in the country.

Rice, the very heartbeat of Filipino cuisine, constitutes almost 40% of our diet. But as much as we adore this staple, it falls short in providing essential micronutrients, like vitamin A. Improving the nutritional content of rice could have a significant impact on the nutritional intake of rice-consuming countries like the Philippines, where dietary inadequacy remains high among all socioeconomic classes, compromising the health and potential of our children and families.

Malusog Rice, also known as Golden Rice, was developed by Prof. Ingo Potrykus and Prof. Peter Beyer, with the technology being donated to developing countries like the Philippines. The Malusog Rice Program of DA-PhilRice, is leading the development, production, and deployment of Malusog Rice in the Philippines, in collaboration with IRRI and other government and non-government agencies.

Malusog Rice has undergone rigorous biosafety assessments from reputable organizations such as Health Canada, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States of America, and DA-Bureau of Plant Industry. It has been determined to be as safe, with the added benefit of beta-carotene in the grain, which the body converts to vitamin A.

Malusog Rice offers significant benefits to the Filipino population. It can help improve the diets of children, who are often deficient in vitamin A, by providing 30-50% of the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for vitamin A. In fact, one cup of cooked Malusog Rice can provide as much beta-carotene as 4 cups of cooked kangkong (water spinach), a commonly consumed vegetable.

Moreover, Malusog Rice is not significantly different from commonly available rice varieties in taste and cost. Initial taste tests have shown that participants could not distinguish between Malusog Rice and regular rice. Ongoing consumer sensory evaluation in the pilot provinces confirms that the taste of Malusog Rice is comparable to that of regular rice.

The partnership between CCA Manila and the Malusog Rice Program aims to develop recipes that highlight the versatility of Malusog Rice by utilizing various indigenous ingredients, cooking methods, and heirloom techniques from the Philippines. These recipes, accompanied by comprehensive nutritional value calculations, will be designed to feed a typical Filipino family of six at an affordable cost of P300.

To maximize the impact of the Malusog Rice Recipes, various formats such as recipe cards, cookbooks, and posters will be utilized for dissemination. A soft launch of the recipes is planned to coincide with the national celebration of Nutrition Month this July. This initiative emphasizes the potential of Malusog Rice to improve the nutrition of vulnerable population groups and underscores its importance in complementing existing nutrition interventions.

“We are excited to partner with the Malusog Rice Program to develop Malusog Rice Recipes that not only showcase the versatility of this remarkable rice variety but also contribute to addressing the pressing issue of vitamin A deficiency in our country,” said Dr. Ma. Veritas Luna, Chancellor for Education of CCA Manila. “Through this collaboration, we aim to inspire mothers, cooks, chefs, and consumers, in general, to explore the vast culinary possibilities of Malusog Rice and enhance the overall nutrition of our nation.”

This partnership between CCA Manila and the Malusog Rice Program signifies a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to combat vitamin A deficiency in the Philippines. By combining culinary expertise with scientific innovation, the recipes will revolutionize the way Filipinos perceive and consume rice in their daily lives.

For inquiries on CCA Manila’s programs, visit its website at Email or visit @ccamanila on Facebook and Instagram.

CCA students kneading the Malusog Rice bread.