Filipino food safety Act given more teeth and oversight
Under the Act, a food safety regulatory co-ordination board will be chaired by government’s health secretary and co-chaired by its agriculture secretary.
The finalised Act aims to protect the consumer from food-borne and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated foods, said Janette Loreto-Garin, the health secretary.
“[It will also] enhance industry and consumer confidence in the food regulatory system and achieve economic growth and development by promoting fair trade practices and sound regulatory foundation for domestic and international trade,” she said.
The Act’s so-called implementing rules and regulations (IRR) also feature tighter traceability requirements, with food business operators now required to establish a traceability system for food, food-producing plants and animals, along with other areas of the primary and post-harvest stages of the food chain.
The traceability systems will be implemented based on the principles and guidelines of Codex Alimentarius, the international standard, and other international bodies.
The Department of Agriculture will have jurisdiction over all fresh produce or primary food obtained from primary production, whereas the Department of Health’s Food and Drug Administration will be responsible for all processed food, regardless of whether it is prepackaged.
The two ministries will consult with the Customs department to develop inspection and clearance protocols for imported and exported food shipments.
They said in a statement: “The Food Safety Act, when implemented properly, will create and enhance food standards that will facilitate Philippine food exports to other countries, help create a unique Philippine food brand, and allow its greater acceptance into new, international markets.”