Consultancy group pushes for food safety standards


CEBU, Philippines - In order to make it in the global market, local companies are advised to implement a food safety management system and comply with the internationally-recognized standards to ensure food quality and safety.

Cebu Food Consultancy Group (CFCG) consultant Dietmar Speckmaier shared that Philippine-based companies, particularly in the food and beverage manufacturing, need to realize that they should abide by the global standards and constantly upgrade themselves to be qualified to serve the market.

Speckmaier is also the program manager of the Optimizing and Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply Chain (OURFood) from the AFOS-Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation that aims to improve the income situation of micro, small and medium enterprise in the food sector of Negros and Cebu.

He said that more companies should be registered and licensed to operate in order to serve a bigger market across the world and compete with other countries.

“We have to comply with the requirements such as the Administrative Order 153 of the Philippine Food and Drug Administration. We need more people to understand that personal hygiene and food safety are important,” he said.

He cited a study on street food microbiology which showed that 52 percent of the 40 food samples failed in accordance to Philippine food safety standards.

Speckmaier added that even highly industrialized countries like Germany and United States also suffer from food safety issues just like in the Philippines.

He noted that there are 76 million American people who get sick every year and 5,000 deaths reported in US due to food intoxication.

He then clarified that end-product testing is not a reliable measurement on food safety since it gives a false sense of security.

He added that this has been a common problem among small and medium enterprises who tend to overlook complaints on food safety, site standards, equipment, facilities and premises.

“Testing is not enough. It should be a system. It should start with the food processing itself. Companies need to have a food safety system development to be implemented within,” he said.

Speckmaier encouraged companies to either comply with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), and Food Security Monitoring Systems (FSMS).

GMP is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. It is designed to minimize the risks involved in any production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product.

HACCP, on the other hand, is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.

Meanwhile, FSMS tracks changes in people's food security situations. Once a company has established a generic food safety management system standard that meets the requirements of ISO, it could be accredited with the ISO 22000 certification. It entails a set of general food safety requirements that apply to all organizations in the food chain, ensuring that food product do not cause adverse human health effects.

Speckmaier served as one of the speakers during the awareness seminar on basic food hygiene and good manufacturing practices that was held last August 19 at Cebu Grand Hotel.

Dubbed with the theme “Food Quality and Safety: Your Ticket to Global Market”, the event was organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology and AFOS-Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation. Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento/JMD (FREEMAN)



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