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Agri agencies to create food safety units

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar has ordered the attached agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to allocate funds for the implementation of food safety measures next year to protect human, plant and animal health.

Dar issued Memorandum Order (MO) 11 that instructed the establishment of food safety units and inclusion of a food safety line budget in the DA central office, regional field offices (RFOs), food safety regulatory agencies (FSRAs) and support agencies.

Dar’s latest MO covers the DA central office, RFOs, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Plant Industry, and the National Meat Inspection Service.

The Fertilizer and  Pesticide Authority, National Dairy Authority, Philippine Coconut Authority and Sugar Regulatory Administration are required to follow the order as well.

The DA’s support agencies, such as the Agricultural Training Institute, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards and the Food Development Center, are covered by the MO.

Under the MO, the above-mentioned government entities shall include “food safety budget items” starting fiscal year 2022 “in accordance with the provisions of Section VI of the Department Order  7 Series of 2018.”

“The DA Planning and Monitoring Service is also directed to supervise the annual budget preparations for Food Safety, ensure compliance and inclusion of this in the DA submission to the Department of Budget and Management,” Dar said in his order issued recently.

The concerned agencies are instructed to create their respective food safety units to be headed by the designated food safety local person, who shall be in direct supervision of the head of the said agency.

The identified food safety local persons shall be part of the DA’s Food Safety Focal Group, according to the MO.

Under the MO, the DA central office shall “oversee the planning and implementation and provide directions for food safety-related plans, programs, activities of the agencies as mandated under the Food Safety Act of 2013.”

The DA will “provide policy recommendations to the management to address issues and gaps upon consultation with offices in the agency working on food safety.”

The DA will also conduct periodic review of the food safety plans and programs of its attached agencies.

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