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Global Trend to Update Food Safety Laws Continues in the Philippines

The Philippines may soon join the United States and Canada by updating its food safety law.

In Manila, the Philippines Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce has reported Senate Bill 3311 to the floor. Known as the Food Safety Act of 2012, the proposed new law is structured around five concepts. They are:

1.Food businesses and government safety agencies are both assigned certain mandates and responsibilities.

2.There is a mechanism for both coordination and accountability for implementing the regulatory functions.

3. It makes policies and programs for addressing food safety hazards and developing standards and control measures clear. It includes a rapid alert systems where food safety emergencies are likely to poise a threat to human health.

4. It upgrades capacities for dealing with food safety by farmers, fishermen, industries, consumers and government.

5. It strengthens the scientific basis for the country’s food safety regulations. The government will rely on academic centers for cost-effective technologies and codes of practices for farmers, fishermen and business enterprises.

The new food safety law includes a system of fines and criminal penalties, including up to six years of prison time for causing the death of a person.

Filipinos have experienced their share of foodborne illnesses, including recent mass outbreaks at a large wedding and a racing event.

The Philippines could become at least the third country in the last two years to update food safety laws. The U.S. Congress in 2010 passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and more recently Canada’s Parliament adopted the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

While these measures differ in many ways, they all recognize challenges to food safety have advanced more rapidly than have the laws. In addition, growth in international trade puts pressure on all countries to keep food safe.

Mugs for beverages containing very high levels of lead and noodles containing cancer-causing benzopyrene below regulatory limits both sparked controversy recently in the Philippines and have been cited an examples of why updated law is necessary.

© Food Safety News
  • doc_raymond

    Add Vietnam to the list of countries that have rewritten food safety laws in the last few years, and Thailand to the list that will likely finalize their rewrites this year.