DOST, FDA, DTI to help food processors in Region 5

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

August 7, 2020, 6:40 pm

<p>(<em>Photo courtesy of DOST</em>)</p>

(Photo courtesy of DOST)

MANILA -- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will collaborate with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 5 to help food processors in the region, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said on Friday.

In a taped DOST report, dela Peña said the three agencies signed a memorandum of agreement earlier this week, for a collaborative project focused on facilitating the registration and compliance of food processing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the mandated food safety regulatory certifications and standards.

"The DOST Region 5's role in this collaborative project is to assist in capability development of DTI technical personnel through the conduct of training on Basic Food Hygiene and current Good Manufacturing Practices," he said.

The DOST Region 5 will also provide analysis and testing, technical assistance on the evaluation of compliance to mandatory packaging and labeling requirements, he added.

Dela Peña said that the DTI, for its part, will identify and evaluate target food processor beneficiaries, and will also determine products for testing, as well as the specific tests to be conducted.

The FDA, on the other hand, will conduct orientation to the beneficiaries regarding product registration and licensing. Dela Peña said the FDA would prioritize and provide a special lane for applicants endorsed by the DTI.

With regard to the food sector, dela Peña reported that the DOST has also partnered with the DTI and Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 11, to address issues in the cacao value chain.

Among the challenges in the cacao value chain are the technology support, marketing, land tenure system, institutional capacity for technical support, access to crop inputs, he said.

"DOST will align its programs and projects, such as the SETUP (Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program), technology transfer training in cacao processing and food safety consultancy services, etc.," dela Peña said.

According to dela Peña, the DOST 11 already assisted two MSMEs in Davao del Norte who are into cacao processing through SETUP.

"About five cacao processors in Davao del Norte were provided with food safety consultancy services. Local cacao food processors from Davao del Norte were also trained by resource persons from DOST 11 on Good Manufacturing Practices and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)," he said. (PNA