Food safety is very important as it may affect the health of consumers and also affect one’s food business. Because of this the Department of Science and Technology in Region I, through the Provincial Science and Technology Office-La Union (PSTO-LU), conducted a 2-day seminar/workshop on Food Safety and current Good Manufacturing Practices for the food vendors and handlers within the tourism area of San Juan from 15-16 March 2023 held at the PSTO-La Union Multi-Purpose Hall.
The training was conducted in adherence to the Food and Safety Act of 2013, an act that protects consumers’ health and facilitates market access of local foods and food products and strengthens the regulatory system of food safety. Meanwhile, current Good Manufacturing Practice or cGMP was also introduced since it is a regulation enforced by
the Food and Drug Administration. It provides for structures that guarantee appropriate design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing facilities and processes.
Jonathan M. Viernes, Provincial Director of PSTO-LU, expressed his gratitude and welcomed all the participants from the different establishments. “I would like to thank you all for accepting our invitation and attending our activity. I am hoping for a successful 2-day seminar/workshop and hoping that all of you will acquire the knowledge needed in your work,” he said. He also encouraged everyone to participate actively and to transfer the knowledge to their co-workers.
On the other hand, Hero D. Galamgam, Project Technical Specialist I and the Resource Speaker in the activity, introduced the overview and concepts of Food Safety and cGMP. He discussed the different types of food hazards and their effects on food; employee health, hygiene, and hand washing; the cleaning and sanitizing procedures; cross contamination; and pest control. He also elaborated on the FDA plant requirements which includes the building design and construction; sanitary facilities, equipment and utensils; production and process controls; water and raw material supply; and storage and distribution.
During the workshop, Galamgam asked the participants to write the common hazards in their workplace and the controls and mitigations that they do to minimize the hazards. Each output was flashed on screen and was studied carefully. The common hazards were further discussed to determine its effect in the workplace. The controls and mitigations written by the participants were modified to better address the hazards and add other solutions to the problems. The goal of the workshop is to minimize the risks and hazards in the workplace and to achieve the objective of providing safe food and ensure good manufacturing practices.
Twenty-seven (27) participants consisting of owners and employees from different food establishments in the tourism area of San Juan, and two SETUP applicants from Naguilian and the City of San Fernando attended the seminar workshop. SETUP stands for Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, one of the flagship programs of the DOST that provides technical and financial assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The seminar/workshop was able to equip the participants with the needed knowledge in the management of their establishments that will give them the edge in the marketplace. (30)