By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Department of Agriculture (DA) organized a food safety caravan in Iloilo City last August 29, 2018 to improve public awareness on the Food Safety Act of 2013.
“We are here to promote our Food Safety Act of 2013 because this is very a young act and a lot of people wala kabalo what the act is,” said DA Assistant Secretary for Regulations and the Visayas Hansel Didulo.
Themed “Sapat na Kaalaman sa Ligtas na Pagkain: Kalusugan at Kaligtasan ay Tiyakin, Bawat Araw Gawing Adhikain,” the food safety caravan included talks about programs on food safety of the different sectors such as crops and fish; livestock and poultry; health, sanitation, and local food business.
According to Didulo, food safety covers farm to pork production, handling, selling, preparation, and up to consumption.
He also reiterated that the implementation of the act is a shared responsibility of various government agencies.
“Ang pag-ensure sang sanitation sa restaurant, school canteens, and markets, ila na function sang LGU. Whereas ang function sang DA is to monitor the primary production and the Department of Health for the processed foods,” he noted.
Dr. Pedro S. Dumaraos Jr., food safety focal head of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Regulation (OASR), said that they would also monitor the malpractices of the vendors in the markets.
“In the market alone ang dami mong makikita na anti-food safety from the way the food is being handled and how slaughtered animal is being transported to the market. Iba gusto lang makapag-benta pero dine-disregard kung nasa safe level pa rin ba,” Dumaraos emphasized.
He also asked for sectors in the community to be observant on the different anti-food safety practices.
“What is important is, sabihin niyo sa amin kung may makita kayo and report it to government agencies. That it’s why we are educating people, because we cannot do it alone,” he noted.
The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law was formulated in 2015 but the DA assured that they would be touring urban centers in the country to conduct more food safety caravans to target ground level awareness.
Approved in 2013, the Food Safety Act of 2013 aims to protect the public from food-borne and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated foods.