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FOOD SAFETY IN THEPHILIPPINES: PROBLEMS, ISSUESAND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THESMALL FARMERS & PRODUCERS

DISCLAIMER
“The views expressed in this report are strictly those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ateneo de Manila University”.

Abstract
Rapid urbanization, increased demand for convenience food, new processing and handling technologies, immune-compromised and susceptible populations and emerging pathogens, among others, point to the need for an effective national food safety program in the Philippines. The study discusses issues surrounding food safety in the country, including recent developments that emphasize the need to assure food safety, trade issues, the scientific basis of food safety measures and the Philippine commitment to food safety. It finds that although Philippine legislation and related issuance provide for various aspects of food safety, the absence of a clear statement of national policy on food safety and the number of agencies involved have led to overlaps and gaps in the implementation of this program. The author proposes constituting an interim Task Force on food safety, ensuring that the ongoing rationalization of relevant agencies adequately address food safety, strengthening consumer education programs towards effective consumer advocacy for food safety, and ensuring the good complementation of mandatory and voluntary food safety measures.

FOOD SAFETY IN THE PHILIPPINES: PROBLEMS,ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE SMALLFARMERS & PRODUCERS Ma. Concepcion C. Lizada

FOOD SAFETY IN THE PHILIPPINES: PROBLEMS, ISSUES AND
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE SMALL FARMERS & PRODUCERS
Executive Summary
Food safety is the assurance that the food supply does not pose an unacceptable risk to human health. A number of developments point to the urgent need for an effective food safety program. Among these are: 1. Rapid urbanization;

2. Increased demand for convenience food;
3. Increased travel;
4. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables;
5. Interest in ethnic and non-traditional food;
6. Novel foods;
7. New processing and handling technologies;
8.Emerging pathogens; and
9. Immune-compromised and susceptible populations
These developments, along with trade liberalization in agriculture and food products point to the need for aneffective national food safety program in the Philippines. Although Philippine legislation and related issuance provide for various aspects of foodsafety, the absence of a clear statement of national policy on food safety and the numberof agencies involved have led to overlaps and gaps in the implementation of thisprogram. Monitoring and surveillance programs covering food borne diseases areimplemented by the Department of Health (DOH). Unfortunately, these programs whichcan provide the much-needed data for a robust economic analysis of the consequences offood borne diseases and the potential benefits that can be derived from an effectivenational program on food safety, needs to be expanded to cover major food bornehazards. The DOH itself has identified the need to integrate these programs. The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided the framework for the design andimplementation of a national food safety program, involving the forging of partnershipsamong government, industry, the academe and civil society. Cognizant of thePhilippines’ commitment to food security and, concomitantly, to food safety, the DOHand the Department of Agriculture have presented a proposal on a National Food SafetyProgram involving the National Food Security Council (NFSC). The NFSC, as createdby Executive Order No. 86 s. 1999 is viewed in the proposal as the appropriate body tointegrate a highly participatory national food safety program. Unfortunately, the Councilhas not been convened since 2000. The proposal is consistent with the WHOframework and identifies the roles...
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