February 22, 2021. The core of a globally competitive agriculture and fishery sector is safe and quality products. The changing consumer demands, the right to safe and quality food, and the advancements in science and technology are some of the factors to consider in setting standards and regulations that will ensure an acceptable level of product safety and quality. Going back to the 2016 Celebration of World Standards Day organized by the World Standards Cooperation, the theme “Standards Build Trust” implies that a product or service conforming to standards is a symbol of quality, safety, or compatibility.
BAFS, as the standard-setting agency of Philippine agriculture and fishery products, promotes the adoption of approved Philippine National Standards (PNS) to technical regulations by the regulatory agencies of the Department of Agriculture (DA). The adoption of PNS is one way of ensuring that technical regulations issued are science-based, globally harmonized, consistent with international commitments, and sufficiently flexible to allow compliance by target stakeholders. Adoption of PNS in relevant regulations may either be through the incorporation of a selected portion of the standards or citation of the entire PNS.
As to date, 44 out of 307 developed PNS or 14% are adopted into technical regulations by the DA Regulatory Agencies. Out of the adopted PNS, 74% or 32 PNS are on food safety and 26% or 11 are on quality (Figure 1). Disaggregating the data by sector, 53% of the technical regulations adopting PN are on crops while the remaining 47% is distributed among the sectors of livestock and poultry, organic agriculture, and general standard (Figure 2).
Figure 1. Breakdown of food safety and quality PNS adopted into technical regulation.
Figure 2. PNS adopted into technical regulation by sector as of February 2021.
With 14% as the baseline data, BAFS intends to intensify its standards promotion initiatives to increase the adoption of approved PNS into technical regulations, more specifically targeting 75% for food safety standards and 40% for quality standards by 2025 (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Target increment of PNS translation to technical regulations
BAFS encourages the DA regulatory agencies to use the PNS as the basis of issued technical regulations. Likewise, BAFS will closely work with the regulatory agencies to ensure that the needs of the industry and consumers are taken into account. The standards should be adopted as far as practicable with our common goal of ensuring safe, quality, and globally competitive agriculture and fishery products.
This is one of the means to move forward to an “improved normal” for the protection of consumer health and the issuance of sound policy interventions. ###