Preparing the thriving local food processors and industrial manufacturers in Ilocos Region to become more competitive and profitable in their food processing business and at the same time making them compliant with international standards in food preparation for human consumption, the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office I conducted a two day seminar on cGMP or the Current Good Manufacturing Practices at the Dagupan Village Hotel, Dagupan City, Pangasinan on August 14-15, 2019.

An activity organized by the Industry Support Development Section of the Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), the cGMP seminar was attended by 30 local food industry processors in the region who are engaged in duhat and dragon fruit wine making, native delicacy processing, veggie noodles, mushroom chicharon and chichacorn, cassava foods among others.

A project in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry's Philippine Trade and Trading Center, the activity provided an opportunity for the local food processors and industrial manufacturers an avenue to learn and be updated on the Administrative Order No. 153 s. 2004 otherwise known as the Revised Guidelines on Current Good Manufacturing Practice in manufacturing, packing, repacking or holding food issued by the Department of Health – Bureau of Food and Drugs.

In her message during the Opening Program, Ms. Edilyn Goldara, Chief of AMAD’s Industry Support Development Section underscored the importance of conducting activity such as this to guide the small and medium food processors and manufacturers on how they would be able to ensure that their products' high quality and help them acquire their permit or license to operate issued by the Foods and Drugs Authority (FDA).

“The pre-requisite of FDA-LTO is embodied in the set required cGMP. Kaya napakaimportante po ang pag-attend ninyo sa seminar na ito,” Ms. Goldara said.

In his discussion on the process, importance and requirements of cGMP, Mr. Cezar dela Cruz, a Chemical Engineer who served as the lecturer of the seminar emphasized the need to comply with the requirements of GMP in the food industry not only in the issuance of LTO but on the consistency of providing safe, quality, hygienic food products for the consumers while protecting and promoting the health of the manpower in a certain workplace or environment.

Giving emphasis on the common food safety acronyms and the Government Food Safety Institutes recognized certifications, Mr. dela Cruz also noted the eight major elements in cGMP under the AO 153 s. 2004. These elements include the GMP Organization, premises, equipment, sanitation and hygiene, production and process controls, quality control, documentation, quality audits, warehousing and distribution, product recall, retention of samples and sub-contracting of manufacture.

In all of these eight major elements, Engr. dela Cruz shared some pointers as well as do’s and don’ts in the food manufacturing business while emphasizing the need to learn basic “science.”

“In food business, you must be familiar with science because you will be encountering a lot of basic principles which you need to apply in your business,” Mr. dela Cruz said.

Emphasizing on the second major element which is on premises that pertains to the grounds and plant construction and design including maintaining good housekeeping as well as the equipment, he emphasized the importance of cleanliness and sanitation not only on the buildings and facilities but also to the workers or food handlers.

To provide the participants with the knowledge and information on hygiene and sanitation, to which they would determine some possible source of microbes in food preparation, the participants have undergone a microbial test on the first day of the seminar using the petri dish with an agar. Each participant was asked to get specimen from their hands, hair strands, dress, and sole of shoes while three of them made an experiment as to how they could possibly minimize the presence of microbes when washing with hands, hand washing with soap and sanitizing with alcohol at the workplace.

Meanwhile, as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is also an important element in cGMP, Mr. dela Cruz also discussed the types of pests in the plant and how these pests can be prevented and controlled using various management procedures and approaches.

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