DOH, DA, BOC ink agreement for IRR on Food Safety Act

February 21, 2015 12:41 am 

MANILA, Feb. 20 — The Department of Health (DOH), Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on the Food Safety Act of 2013 (R.A. 10611) to strengthen the food safety regulatory system of our country. The signing was held at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

DOH Secretary Janette Garin, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala, and BOC Commissioner John P. Sevilla were all present in the ceremonial signing of the IRR.

“Public health is our highest priority. This signing is a symbol that DA, DOH and BOC will be closely coordinating for food safety," said DOH Secretary Janette Garin.

"We realized that each department cannot exist on its own. It’s the duty of the three departments to come all together and work on the food safety act for the welfare of the general public and at the same time not to put much burden on our businessmen," she added.

Under the said IRR, Food Business Operators (FBOs) shall be required to establish a traceability system for food, food-producing plants and animals and other inputs in the primary and post-harvest stages of the food chain.

“We can ensure safety on our products and the public if the rules and regulations are properly executed,” said DA Secretary Proceso Alcala.

The IRR were further explained by the heads of each department to avoid confusion and to resolve the problems regarding the issuance of permits.

All raw products will be under the jurisdiction of the DA. They will ensure the food safety for fresh plant, animal, fisheries and aquaculture foods.

The bureaus under the DA with food safety regulatory functions are the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), National Dairy Authority (NDA), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), and the National Food Authority (NFA).

DOH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Food Regulation and Research (CFRR), and the Bureau of Quarantine shall be responsible for the safety of all food processing and product packaging activities.

In terms of medicine, FDA will be very strict in implementing the IRR.

The BOC, on the other hand, shall develop the regulations and define and set the parameters of the inspection and clearance procedures of imported food shipments to be conducted by the DA and the DOH within their respective jurisdiction.

BOC will also publish the list of products that needs to have a permit prior to importation.

One-tenth out of the 7,000 listed products is covered by the Food Safety Act.

They also included the procedures and the proper department that will be issuing the permit. The list can be viewed and downloaded at www.customs.gov.ph.

“There will be a Food Safety Coordination Board to convene DOH, DA and the Local Government Units (LGUs) to discuss and ensure that food safety is from production to consumption,” said CFRR Head Dr. Maria Victoria D. Pinion, PhD. (PNA) lgi/Noelle Andrea R. Padrones (OJT)

/RSM

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