PH MSMEs need help in metrology, experts say

Posted on 06/26/2023 03:45 pm
PH MSMEs need help in metrology, experts say image

“MSME’s need help in metrology to ensure food safety.” 

This is what Kiveen P. Suycano, a research specialist at the Industrial Technology and Development Institute (ITDI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said in his presentation during the celebration of the National Metrology Laboratory’s (NML) 2023 Metrology Day, themed “Underpinning the Role of Metrology in Food Quality and Safety.”

Suycano underscores the importance of metrology or the science of measurements and its applications not only in big industries, but even in the MSMEs. 

“We need to make more effort to help especially the MSMEs kasi sila po yung sa tingin ko po ay mas higit na nangangailangan ng tulong para mas mapabuti, for them to innovate and somehow improve their processes para maiwasan natin ang food loss and food waste,” Suycano urged.

Through metrology, the quality and authenticity of food are determined by measuring its chemical composition microbial load. The safety of food is ensured by careful measurement to detect the presence of chemical and microbiological contamination such as pesticide residues, heavy metals, mycotoxins, and pathogens.

Metrology can help businesses innovate, do better, perform better, and improve the quality of their products, and make them compliant to the quality of international and national standards. And these will lead to job creation and better income for the Filipinos.

This year’s theme for Metrology Day “Measurements supporting the global food system,” was chosen because of the effects of the increasing challenges of climate change and increasing population and the global food production and distribution systems, as well as food security.

Access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human need and is probably one of the most pressing needs, such that the United Nation in its sustainable development goals listed zero hunger as almost at the top of the list for the pandemic because it was estimated 

that between 720M and 800million persons worldwide were suffering from hunger. Roughly 161million more than in 2019 and the pandemic further aggravated this situation.

“The need for a reliable food providers and regulators, and sufficient food system is a pressing worldwide issue in which metrology plays a key role,” Annabelle V. Briones, Director DOST-ITDI said.

In food safety there’s what they call a food chain approach and DOST-ITDI’s National Metrology Laboratory (NML) helps ensure the implementation of the Republic Act 10611 of 2013 or An Act to strengthen the Food Safety Regulatory System in the Country to Protect Consumer Health and Facilitate Market Access of local foods and food products, and for other purposes.

“Our food safety act enables our country to have a mechanism so that our food providers will have a capability to monitor, regulate and ensure that the food served, whether it be packaged food, or food we serve in our restaurants, or even in our sari-sari store are safe for consumption, to prevent illness or disease,” Admer Rey C. Dablio, also a science researcher of DOST-ITDI said.

The food chain approach entails food production, transport and processing, retail and storage, preparation, and consumption. And metrology is present in all of these.

“In food processing, it’s not just about matimbang mo, o ma-process mo, kailangan metrology would still be there for you to establish food safety, and of course ma-lessen yung food losses and another one is food waste. Kailangan appropriate yung pressure, otherwise yung mga bote, like the bottle of sardines, pwede sya sumabog. Yung mga lata, if not calibrated yung canning machine natin, wherein the force is too much, maaaring mayupi ang lata and somehow that would reflect failure when we go to quality control,” Suycano illustrated the use metrology or measurements in food processing.

Accurate and reliable measurements support the global food system by ensuring that the correct amount of food is produced, transported and sold. There will be reduction (or elimination) of food loss and food waste during production, processing, distribution, and consumption. Fair trade is promoted through accurate measurements, which in turn ensures food quality and safety in compliance with regulatory requirements, not only in the local standards, but in the international standards as well. (Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin, DOST-STII)

(Photo grabbed from zoom presentation of Kiveen P. Suycano, a research specialist at DOST-ITDI) Metrology intervention in food processing includes weights of raw materials and ingredients; temperature; food labels (nutrition facts and net weight); and food additives.

(Photo grabbed from zoom presentation of Kiveen P. Suycano, a research specialist at DOST-ITDI) By determining the PH level of the soil, the farmers can now analyzed and determine how fertilizer to use to maximize their efforts, also determine the specific type of variety to plant on a specific location, depending on the type of soil, so they can get have an optimum harvest.

(Photo grabbed from zoom presentation of Kiveen P. Suycano, a research specialist at DOST-ITDI) In livestock, it is important to measure appropriate temperature and humidity. For instance, in the case of poultry, if the temperature is appropriate, there’s a greater chance that the chickens will lay more eggs. Volume metric devices for livestock farmers are needed to monitor the weight of their livestock and ration of feeds that they have to give.