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Agriculture

NMIS seeks return of regulatory powers over meat products

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
NMIS seeks return of regulatory powers over meat products
NMIS executive director Ernesto Gonzalez said the agency is drafting a position paper that seeks amendments to the Food Safety Act, particularly to revert the regulation of processed-meat products to the DA.
File

MANILA, Philippines — The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) is hoping to take back processed meat products under its supervision.

The regulation of meat products had been transferred to the Department of Health (DOH) in February 2016.

NMIS executive director Ernesto Gonzalez said the agency is drafting a position paper that seeks amendments to the Food Safety Act, particularly to revert the regulation of processed-meat products to the DA.

“We have to get Congress to support it, to sponsor a bill that will amend the law to return the functions to us. We are now on the direction of getting and identifying lawmakers to support us. We are confident that we can convince some of them and make it happen this Congress,” Gonzalez told The STAR.

Gonzalez said he plans to submit the paper to President Duterte.

“He can support this in fasttracking the amendments to the law,” Gonzalez said.

“We really need this because we can not monitor what’s happening. We are not saying that they [DOH] lack the expertise but there are procedures that only NMIS can monitor the processing of meat production,” Gonzalez said.

The Philippine Association of Meat Processors Inc. (PAMPI) welcomed the move of the NMIS, saying it is consistent with the Ease of Doing Business Law.

“The President’s order is to simplify government regulations, not duplicate them. Also, there is the charter of the NMIS that provides them to be the sole controlling authority on meat and meat products,” PAMPI president Felix Tiukinhoy told The STAR.

“The previous administration made a mistake when it surrendered NMIS authority to DOH,” he said.

PAMPI, which counts among its members the largest meat processing companies, earlier said production cost had been escalating since companies had  to coordinate with two departments.

Prior to stepping down, former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and Health Secretary Janette Garin signed the circular to implement the provisions of the Food Safety Act, which proposed the transfer of the supervision and regulation of processed and pre-packaged meat products from NMIS to the DOH-Food and Drug Administration.

Under the law, the DOH is now “responsible for the safety of processed and prepackaged foods, foods locally produced or imported under this category and the conduct of monitoring and epidemiological studies on food-borne illnesses.”

The DA, on the other hand, has been tasked to ensure the “food safety in the primary production and post-harvest stages of food supply chain and foods locally produced or imported.”  

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

MEAT PRODUCTS

NATIONAL MEAT INSPECTION SERVICE

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