DA-BAFS

REPUBLIC OF TYHE PHILIPPINES
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards

"...ensure consumer safety and promote competitiveness of Philippines agriculture and fishery products."

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A standard is a document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides for common and repeated use, rules and guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at achieving the optimum degree of order in a given context. Standards are voluntary in nature unless adopted by a competent authority or regulatory agencies into technical regulations or sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures.

DA-BAFS is mandated to develop relevant, science-based, and internationally harmonized Philippine National Standards (PNS) for:

a.  fresh, primary- and secondary-processed agricultural and fishery products, related to consumer health and safety and efficient trade, both food and non-food (RA No. 8435 – Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Act);

b. organic agriculture including crops, livestock and aquaculture, organic production, processing, and labeling (RA No. 10068 – Organic Agriculture Act);

c.  agricultural and fisheries machinery, tools, and equipment (RA No. 10601 – Agriculture and Fishery Mechanization Law);

d.  food safety of primary and postharvest foods to be used by the DA Food Safety Regulatory Agencies (FSRAs) in developing/implementing food safety regulations (RA No. 10611 – Food Safety Act);

e.   Halal primary and post-harvest foods (RA No. 10817 – Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board); and

f.    specifications and test methods for farm machinery and equipment that will be procured under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RA No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law)

Stakeholders who wish to provide their comments on draft standards may check the tab “Philippine National Standards” on the BAFS website. Click “Draft  Philippine National Standards” and scroll down to look for the specific standards. Another option is to use the PNS online commenting system. You can access this link to register and comment on the draft Philippine National Standards: (OCS link)

BAFS has developed a total of 314 PNS as of August 2021 for agriculture and fishery (AF) products,  tools, machinery,  equipment, and structures since 2003. The majority of the PNS are related to crops for food and non-food (49.4%), followed by agriculture and fishery (AF) tools, machinery, equipment, and structures (21.6%), fish and fishery products (12.3%), and livestock and poultry products (10.3%). More than half or 57.4% of these PNS are quality standards, and the rest are food safety standards (42.6%).

BAFS also commits to develop PNS which are harmonized with the regional and international standards, particularly the ASEAN and Codex standards. As of date, 94% (68 out of the 72) ASEAN regional standards related to AF primary and postharvest products are already adopted as PNS. For Codex standards within the mandates of DA-BAFS, 36% (44 out 123) have already been adopted. By 2025, the SDD of the DA-BAFS endeavors to adopt 100% of the relevant ASEAN and Codex standards as PNS to contribute to making the agriculture and fishery sector more globally competitive.

Go to the BAFS website (www.bafs.da.gov.ph) and click the tab Philippine National Standards. Click “Approved Philippine National Standards” and scroll down to look for the specific standards in the list or use the search box. Select the standard you wish to download, then provide feedback to finish the download. 

Standards are promoted through the conduct of seminars, development of various knowledge products (e.g explanatory manuals, infographics, comics, audiovisual presentation), and online academy modules. Through these efforts, it is expected that DA regulatory agencies like BAI, NMIS, BPI, BFAR, PCA, PhilFIDA, etc will better understand the requirements of standards and adopt them through the issuance of a regulation. 

A standard that is used as the basis of regulations becomes mandatory. The regulatory agencies are mandated to monitor the implementation of the referenced standard. 

Currently, out of the 307 total PNS (as of December 2020), 53 (17%) have corresponding technical regulations from relevant regulatory agencies. Thirteen (13) are food quality standards whilst 40 are food safety-related standards.

Below are some of the standards that have corresponding certification and registration schemes referred to in the existing regulations:

  • AC 1 Series of 2018– Guidelines on the Certification of Philippine Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Crops
  • DC 7 Series of 2017- Guidelines on the Certification of Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP)
  • Fisheries Office Order 205 Series of 2019: Registration of Farms for Good Aquaculture Practices 
  • DC No. 01, Series of 2018 - Revised Guidelines for the Official Accreditation of Organic Certifying Bodies
  • DC No. 05, Series of 2015 - Revised Rules and Regulations on the Registration of Organic Fertilizer Producers 

For FY 2022 BAFS will develop 20 Philippine National Standards (PNS). Below is the list of standards that BAFS will develop for FY 2022, classified as food safety- or food quality-related PNS.

No

Philippine National Standard

Category

1

Code of Practice for the Processing of Crabs

Food Safety

2

Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) - Grouper

Food Safety

3

Soft Shell Crab 

Food Safety

4

Guidelines for the Establishment of Traceability Systems - Finfish - Wildcaught

Food Safety

5

Guidelines for the Establishment of Traceability Systems - Finfish - Cultured

Food Safety

6

Pork Carcass Grading

Food Safety and Quality

7

Beef Carcass Grading

Food Safety and Quality

8

Veterinary Drug Residue Limits

Food Safety

9

Slaughtering Practices for Rabbit

Food Safety

10

Honey

Food Safety

11

MRLs for Cabbage

Food Safety

12

MRLs for Corn

Food Safety

13

Bottle Gourd

Food Safety and Quality

14

Sweet Corn

Food Safety and Quality

15

Onion

Food Safety and Quality

16

Multicommodity Dryer- Specifications

Quality

17

Multicommodity Dryer- Methods of Test

Quality

18

Technical Means for Ensuring Safety

Quality

19

Knapsack Sprayer- Specification

Quality

20

Knapsack Sprayer - Methods of Test

Quality


The DA-BAFS mandates under the Food Safety Act are defined in Rule 16.6 and Rule 16.8 of the IRR of RA 10611 which are the following:

​​Rule 16.6 BAFPS now known as the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) shall be the DA agency responsible for developing, adopting, and/or amending/revising food safety standards and codes of practice for primary and postharvest foods for the use of DA FSRAs in developing/implementing food safety regulations.

To date, the Bureau has developed a total of 134 food-safety PNS for primary and postharvest foods. These food safety standards can be broken down into crops (73 PNS), livestock and poultry (19 PNS), fish and fishery (34 PNS), and general standards (8 PNS). The said PNS were approved by the DA Secretary and endorsed to the mandated Food Safety Regulatory Agencies (FSRAs) for possible adoption or basis of their respective technical regulations.

Rule 16.8 The BAFS shall organize the DA pool of scientific experts for the development of food safety standards and the provision of scientific advice to the Secretary, the Undersecretary for Policy and Planning, R&D and Regulations, the DA FSRAs and the NCO. The members of the DA pool of scientific experts shall come from academe, research institutions, and other relevant organizations.

span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif">In 2017, the DC No. 02 Series of 2017 or the Guidelines on the Creation of the DAPE and the Issuance of Scientific or Technical Recommendations was issued in compliance with Section 16 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Food Safety Act of 2013. The Act mandated BAFS to organize the DAPE to support the development of food safety standards and provide scientific advice. 

Sustaining the government’s efforts to ensure science-based decision-making, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar signed on  September 15, 2020 the Department Circular (DC) No. 13 Series of 2020 or the Revised Guidelines for the Selection of Experts for Membership to the Department of Agriculture Pool of Experts (DAPE) and the Issuance of Scientific or Technical Advice. The revision includes updates on the procedure for the selection of experts to ensure a more comprehensive and extensive search, as well as the procedure for the issuance of scientific or technical advice to the DA Secretary, the Undersecretary for Policy and Planning, Undersecretary for Regulations, the DA Regulatory Agencies and the National Codex Organization (NCO).  The revised Guidelines replaced DC No. 02 Series of 2017.

The new Guideline also acknowledges that when the issuance of advice through the conduct of risk assessment may not be feasible at times due to unavailability of data, risk profiles will provide contextual and background information on the potential risk when food and hazard are combined.

The DAPE was tapped for the conduct of the assessment of food safety issues, in particular the Radionuclide in Agricultural Commodities.  The Department previously imposed additional import requirements on Japanese commodities as a response to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident. The result of the food safety assessment was used as  the basis for the lifting of the prevailing additional import requirements on Japanese commodities. Another assessment conducted was on Clostridium botulinum in Fish Sauce.  This is in response to the request of BFAR in view of the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) requirement on the evisceration of fish before processing. Currently, our local manufacturers use uneviscerated fish as raw material for fish sauce production, which is a deviation from the Codex Standard and the USFDA requirement. The initial findings were endorsed to BFAR and DOST-PCIERRD for further studies to gather local data to substantiate the risk profile and strengthen the evidence of recommendations. 

Currently, BAFS is inviting food safety experts to become part of the DA Pool of Experts (DAPE), who shall provide scientific advice to support the development of standards and issuance of technical regulations. The minimum requirements are to at least have an advanced university/college degree in microbiology, food science, chemistry, and/or related fields, with at least five (5) years of relevant work experience and knowledge in the principle of risk analysis.  The experts shall be entitled to honoraria for every activity conducted concerning the function. 

The first batch of the DAPE was signed by the former Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on 18 June 2020 through Special Order No. 708 series of 2018. BAFS is intensifying its campaign for DAPE membership, and experts are encouraged to be part of this milestone and contribute to strengthening the country’s food safety system. 

As of July 30, 2021, the DA-BAFS has developed 7 Organic Agriculture Standards which are the following:

ORGANIC STANDARDS

No

Standards

1

Organic Agriculture

2

Organic Milled Rice - Code of Practice - Postproduction

3

Organic Aquaculture

4

Organic biocontrol agents – Microbials and botanicals – Minimum data requirements

5

Organic Soil Amendments (formerly Organic Fertilizer)

6

Organic Aquaculture Feeds

7

Code of Practice for the Production of Organic Soil Amendments


RA 11511 provides BAFS  three (3) major mandates: (1) develop standards on organic agriculture; (2) accredit organic certifying bodies (OCB), which covers both 3rd party OCBs and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) groups; and (3) register integrated organic farms and organic inputs (soil amendments and bio-control agents).

The accreditation of PGS groups is a new feature of the amended Organic Agriculture Law, which intends to address the issue of high certification costs. PGS is viewed as a mechanism by which small farmers/fisherfolks shall be certified as engaged in organic agriculture.

In consonance with the formulation of the IRR of RA 11511, BAFS in collaboration with the ATI came up with a draft Training and Extension Plan for the PGS formation to regulatory phase (pls see separate document).  

Organic Certifying Bodies (OCBs) implement their own certification fee structure in accordance with the requirements of the Organic Certification Scheme (Department Circular No. 01, Series of 2018). Although following a prescribed fee structure, the amounts therein are designed by the OCBs to cover the costs required for their operations and ensure the stability of their business. A certification cost includes the following: application/administrative fees, inspection fees (including professional fee per day, food, traveling expenses, and accommodation, if necessary), certification fees; and laboratory analysis fees. 

A certification fee ranges from Php 25,000 - Php 130,000, and varies according to the number of scope/s applied for certification, size and location of the farm, required laboratory tests, and other factors such as risk-level of the operations.

There are two initiatives that address the issue of costly third-party certification. These include the following:

  • Certification assistance is offered by the Department, through the Regional Field Offices (RFO), to qualified organic agriculture entities (specifically the MSMEs). The assistance covers both technical and financial aspects towards certification. Technical assistance refers to the pre-assessment activities conducted by the RFOs, while financial assistance refers to the payment for certification and inspection services of the OCBs.
  • BAFS Accreditation of Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) groups in accordance with Republic Act No. 11511, otherwise known as “An Act Amending Republic Act No. 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010”. The PGS provides a more affordable and alternative certification scheme for small farmers as it relies on a community-based control system.