Philippines may overhaul food safety system

Arroz caldo is Filipino dish with rice, chicken, ginger, garlic and onion. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. and Canada aren’t the only nations giving their food safety laws a makeover.

The Philippines also may soon join them in revamping food safety laws, Food Safety News (FSN) reports.

Senate Bill 3311, known as the Food Safety Act of 2012, would restructure the way food safety responsibilities are handled in the Pacific nation.

In addition to giving businesses and government agencies assigned responsibilities, it also would provide a way to increase coordination and accountability when implementing regulatory processes, according to FSN.

It also increases reliance on scientific-based regulations, creates programs and rules in regard to food safety, especially standards, controls and alert systems. Finally, the bill also proposes to increase the capability of those who work in the food industry, such as farmers, fisherman and consumers, in food safety-related skills.

The bill also includes penalties for those who violate it, and even harsher terms when the violation leads to injury or death, according to Tempo.com, a Filipino news organization.

The Philippines is the latest nation to consider a massive food safety overhaul. In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law. Although the rules have yet to come out, FSMA aims to increase oversight for imports, set preventative measures in place for food and animal feed and increase safety standards for produce.

Earlier this year, Canada also approved sweeping changes to its food safety laws as well. The Safe Food for Canadians Act implements consistent protocols for all food types, increases penalties for law breakers and enhances import and export controls.

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