DOST coaches MSMEs in Dinagat on Food Safety, Laws and Regulations

San Jose, Province of Dinagat Islands—the Department of Science and Technology has once again led the way on providing trainings and consultancy Food Safety, Food Laws and Food Regulations to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Multi-purpose Cooperatives (MPCs) at the Province of Dinagat Islands.

According to Dr. Julaton, lead trainer and former director of the National Meat Inspection in Caraga, MSMEs in the food industry should focus on the topics—Good Manufacturing Practices, Hand Washing, Personal Hygience, Cross Contamination and Food Safety Hazards—that strengthen the processes in Food Processing.

Dr. Julaton emphasized that avoidance and malpractice of Food Processors could result to loss of business, goodwill, and employee’s moral, legal fees and increase in insurance premium if taken for granted.

The speakers sighted incidents of food contamination and poisoning due to malpractice. Jennifer Dejarme of DOST Caraga highlighted the case of the Durian Candy food poisoning in Tandag City (link bold text to: http://www.rappler.com/nation/98943-durian-candy-poisons-hundreds-surigao-del-sur-towns) last July 10, 2016 which has poisoned hundreds of elementary students.

“A simple sneezing or a typical open wound can contaminate a whole batch of product from the processing center. Hand washing should be strictly implemented at all levels in the production,” explains Dejarme.

After the trainings, the experts and staff of DOST-PDI proceeded to the firms—RJL Special Buko Salad, Mang Camiling’s Lechon Manok and Marcos’ Restaurant—and were given free consultancy services on Food Safety.

FOOD LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Engr. Cabonita, DOST trainer on Food Safety, emphasized the importance of the laws that assure the safety and quality processed products, especially exported ones. This is an important requisite for the Filipinos to be acknowledge as a globally competitive producers of Agriculture and Food Products.

“Globalization is a newest trend whilst ASEAN Economic Integration has already been taking place since 2015. In the nearest future market restrictions will just be another myth that would remind everybody that market isolation is never a good thing for innovation and profit-based world market,” expounded Engr. Cabonita.

Engr. Cabonita also discussed the Food Safety Act of 2013 (RA 10611) during the training. The act—which strengthens the food safety regulatory system in the country—protect consumer health and facilitate market access of local foods and food products. The offshoots of the law created an inter-agency body that strengthen the dissemination of Food Safety such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in the Philippines.

In the region, DOST Caraga formed the Caraga Food Safety Team (CFST) together with different government and private agencies. This has the support from Winrock International, the foundation arm of the United States’ Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Engr. Cabonita also reminded the Dinagatnons that government agencies like DOST, FDA, DTI and DA are always willing to help, they just need to tap them and ask.