Unified Food-Safety Rules Needed - Angara

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DAVAO CITY - Senator Edgardo Angara said here he sees the need for a single government agency that will look into food-safety programs and requirements.

He also cited the need to formulate unified food-safety standards.

Angara disclosed this proposal during the 1st Mindanao Conference on "Existing and Emerging Issues on Food Safety" held last week the Grand Regal Hotel in this city.

"The necessity of a singular agency doing the inspection is mandatory," he said.

Angara said that the multi-sectoral agencies looking into the country's food safety must be unified. "The overlapping functions of national agencies make it difficult to have unified standards on food safety. So, we must harmonize all of these in one single agency whose sole task is to inspect food processors and distributors, even eateries to see whether they are complying with food safety standards," he said, alarmed over reports that more than 90 percent of the street food in Mindanao are unsanitary.

However, Angara said that it does not necessarily mean creating a new agency. "It may be an existing agency, but research must first be conducted before making recommendations," he said.

He suggested going down to the local level in terms of implementing food-safety laws. "Many eateries and small and medium food producers are proliferating now. I think that local government units have the capability to handle this matter," he said.

Councilor Pilar Braga, chairperson of the city council's committee on energy, transportation, and communication, also cited the importance of the role of local government units in enforcing the laws on food safety. …