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National standards for selected Philippine ethnic foods

The Industrial Technology Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology has set standards for selected Philippine ethnic foods.  Ethnic foods are any food, ingredients or beverages that have a particular association or closely identified with the country or place of origin. 

Although different from familiar food commodities, ethnic foods are often evaluated according to standards of products with which they have the closest similarity in western countries.  Deficiencies in the fair and objective evaluation of quality and safety of these products are often encountered.

Because of intense food industry clamor, ITDI launched a project to develop the much-needed standards to protect and assist the local industry to be globally competitive. 

Although ITDI is not mandated to develop standards, it signed an agreement with the Bureau of Food & Drugs that authorized ITDI to develop standards for selected ethnic food products. 

ITDI first created a “Commodity/Product Working Group” consisting of representatives from processors and traders of products under standardization and ITDI technical personnel.  The group prepared a preliminary draft of the standards based on information gathered from companies’ historical or technical data, analysis of samples, and review of related literature. 

The CWG then submits the draft to the Food Standards Technical Committee for review and deliberation.  FSTC is composed of representatives from the industry (processors of food under standardization), academic institutions, research and development institutes, government agencies, industry associations, consumer associations, and related professional associations.  After FSTC evaluation, the draft standard is turned over to BFAD.

 BFAD presents the draft for public review to ask for comments and suggestions from all affected sectors and stakeholders.  After consolidation feedbacks, the FSTC reviews and revises the document and finally endorses it through a BFAD administrative order and accreditation by the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry as Philippine National Standards for subsequent BFAD implementation. 

The strict imposition and adoption of these new standards would guarantee consistent product quality and better competitiveness for the processors, and ensure safety and fair trade for consumers.


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