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DOST Calabarzon inaugurates regional food safety and quality assurance center

29 November 2009 2,580 views No Comment

Los Banos, Laguna (27 November) — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Calabarzon inaugurated recently the Regional Food Safety and Quality Assurance Center (RFSQA) located beside the regional office in Jamboree Road, Timugan in this municipality.

DOST Secretary Dr. Estrella F. Alabastro led the ribbon cutting marking the formal opening of the Center along with Assistant Secretary and OIC Dr. Carol M. Yorobe of the Office of the Undersecretary for Regional Operations, DOST and DOST Calabarzon Regional Director Dr. Alexander R. Madrigal.

The Center is a three-storey building being constructed in two phases: Phase I is the construction of the building which costs P9.4M while Phase II has an allocation of P6.02M for the finishing touches.

It boasts of state of the art facilities and equipment for microbiological testing of products and by products including chemical testing of toxins, presence of heavy metal contaminants and pesticide residues.

The establishment of an RFSQA is in compliance with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the Uruguay Round (GATT-UR) where the Philippines and 120-member countries ratified in 1994. The agreement has major provisions for agriculture that include harmonization of sanitary and phystosanitary (SPS) measures.

The measures aim to improve human health, animal health and phytosanitary situations in all member-countries. Thus, the World Trade Organization (WTO) who has the capacity and powers to enforce GATT, established a framework of rules to guide adoption, development end enforcement of SPS measures in order to minimize their negative effects on trade.

Recognizing the significant contributions of these measures, the RFSQA was launched by DOST Calabarzon last year to advocate the principles among six other regions in Luzon. As shepherd region, it assisted DOST CAR, Regions I, II, III, Mimaropa, and NCR in creating Food Safety Teams that underwent training on food safety and good manufacturing practices (GMP).

The Food Safety Team will support other government regulatory agencies in checking the Food Industry, specifically the Small Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) that produce large number and quantities of food products for compliance to allowable limits in use of food additives.

It will also train the technical staff of SMEs in understanding food material, in processing it and the hazards associated with each step in the process to learn in identifying critical control points and apply food control to ensure that hazards are eliminated or reduced sufficiently.

The RFSQA is the 9th Science and Technology (S&T) infrastructure constructed by DOST Calabarzon. From 1998 to 2005, DOST Calabarzon established its eight S&T infrastructures: regional S&T center in Laguna; provincial S&T centers in Batangas, and Cavite; calibration centers in Batangas and Laguna, and one regional service and testing laboratory (RSTL) in Laguna, one waste water laboratory (CWWTL) in Cavite, and one training center on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Qeuzon. (PIA Calabarzon)

by Carlo P. Gonzaga

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