Food safety boosts development, international trade

 

Safe and quality foods could help address health and poverty issues in the country

THE PHILIPPINES strives to achieve food security while being attentive also to food quality and safety.  Agricultural policies in recent years were drawn to raise food production and ensure safe agriculture and food products.

Safe and quality foods could help address health and poverty issues in the country.  Local experience shows a strong link between health and poverty.  Poor health conditions decrease potential for productivity and limits a person’s socio-economic activities.

Food safety and quality is also important for the country especially in its effort to enhance international trade.  Major importing economies like the European Union, Japan, and the United States have imposed strict sanitary and phytosanitary standards for exporting countries.

The implication of such standards to an agriculture exporting country like the Philippines is it would have to establish a system for food traceability, and certification system on good agricultural practices covering crop protection, product handling, and chemical use.

The country’s food safety, quality, and traceability systems are currently underdeveloped. Experience in many developing countries point to several reasons for unsatisfactory food safety system such as:

  • Complexity of food system or supply chain
  • Lack of coordination or cooperation among government agencies and production sectors
  • Poor application of modern and science-base knowledge and of appropriate management concepts or practices
  • Ineffective institutional infrastructure
  • Lack of physical infrastructure and suitable facilities
  • Inadequate human resource capability

Improving food safety and control system in the country is a huge task that requires holistic approach including interventions that would establish or strengthen regulatory system, build the capacity of relevant institutions and human resource, and encourage government and industry participation.

The World Bank suggests the following measures as possible components of food safety projects in developing countries:

Export focused

  • Systems for product traceability
  • Establishing disease-free zones
  • Developing laboratory capacity for residue testing, microbial counts, etc.
  • Chain management (‘from farm to the table’) regulation and training
  • Strengthening capacity for food inspection and certification
  • HACCP training
  • Market information about import standards in export markets
  • Training in appropriate use of pesticides and veterinary pharmaceuticals

Domestic market focused

  • Basic investments in water and sanitation
  • Hygiene training for street food vendors
  • Hygiene practices for wholesale marketplaces
  • Provision of disease-free seeds and seedlings
  • Legal framework for seed inspection and certification, plant and animal quarantine infrastructure
  • Eradication of specific plant pests
  • Vaccination programs against livestock diseases

PCARRD believes that food safety, quality, and traceability are important to make the country’s key agribusiness industries globally competitive.  It advocates the development of a food safety and traceability program to strengthen the country’s capability to ensure food safety and quality. STP



 

 

 

 

 

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