June 24, 2021. In celebration of the World Food Safety Day with the theme “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow”, the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Technical Services Division, conducted a three-day webinar titled “Safe and Quality Meats for Healthy Eats” on June 15,16 and 23. The webinars aim to raise awareness on the food safety- and quality-related Philippine National Standards (PNS) related to fresh meat and meat preparations. These standards cover the value chain, meaning from the farm up to the point of distribution, including the pre-slaughter, slaughter, and post-slaughter handling of meat.
A study in 2020 showed that improper ante-mortem and post-mortem slaughter carries stress which induces defects such as Pale, Soft and Exudative (PSE) and Dark, Firm and Dry (DFD) that leads to undesirable appearances, texture, and color. Having PSE and DFD in meat affects its acceptability by the consumers. Furthermore, Arun et al. (2019) reported that poor pre-slaughter causes bacterial contamination that when ingested, may cause and/or develop illnesses like gastroenteritis, hepatitis A and Hepatitis E.
With this, members of the PNS Technical Working Group and other experts from the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) were invited as speakers to discuss standards related to meat covering food safety, quality, and agricultural machinery. The 3-day webinar recorded a total of 935 registered participants from the national government agencies, local government units, academe, private organizations, farmers and farmers cooperatives, students and housewives.
On the 1st day, food safety standards, particularly the PNS Code of Hygienic Practice on Meat, and PNS Veterinary Drug Residues in Food specifically on Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) were discussed. A special topic on Antimicrobial Resistance in Agriculture was also included to highlight the impact and connection of antimicrobial resistance between the health of people, animals and the environment. Meanwhile, on day 2, the discussions were focused on quality-related standards, i.e. PNS Slaughter Hogs Grading and PNS Pork Cuts. Finally, on day 3, the focus was on several PNS on Agricultural Structures - Lairage and Slaughterhouse for Swine and Ruminants.
One of the speakers stressed the importance of proper hygiene and cleanliness from the slaughterhouse up to the endpoint (consumers) to have safe food, emphasizing that “food safety starts with us and ends with you.”
Assistant Director Mary Grace Mandigma formally concluded the webinar with her takeaways that “what we do at the farm level really affects the final product.” “Even the construction of slaughterhouses really affects the meat quality,” she continued.
These webinars are part of the series of Learning and Development activities showcasing the adopted PNS in the agriculture and fishery sector launched by BAFS this year. Stay tuned for the upcoming events on BAFS official Facebook page. ###
 Manalo M and Gabriel A. 2020. Influence of Ante-mortem and Slaughtering Practices on Meat pH. Philippine Journal of Science.Vol. 149 No.1. ISSN 0031-7683.
 Arun KD, Nanda PK, Das A and Biswas S. 2019. Hazard and Safety issues of Meat and Meat Products. Pages 145-168. ISBN 9780128163337