June 16, 2021. The Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) continues to provide its employees a learning platform relevant to its mandates. The BAFS-Laboratory Services Division (LSD) spearheaded a half-day online technical webinar entitled: Capacity Building Seminar on the Development of Risk Profile for Chemical Contaminants in Food last June 10, 2021 via Zoom Cloud Meeting. The activity was conducted to orient BAFS technical personnel on the basic concepts of risk profiling, identification of chemical hazards in food, and its role to support the development of the Philippine National Standards (PNS) and other risk management options. It also aimed to build the competence of BAFS personnel on ensuring effective sourcing of scientific data which is one of the mandates of BAFS stipulated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act no. 10611 or the Food Safety Act (FSA) of 2013.
Two (2) experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) Institute of Chemistry, namely Dr. Maria Karmella Loque Apaya of the UP-Diliman with specialization in Biotechnology and Dr. Mae Joanne Aguila of the UP- Los Baños with specialization in Organic Chemistry were invited as resource persons and discussed “Foodomics: A Bahay Kubo Perspective on Food Safety Analytics'' and Is It Safe to Eat? Just Check
-in'! (Chemical Hazards of Livestock Products), respectively. The 21 registered participants came from the technical divisions of BAFS: Standard Development Division (SDD), Technical Services Division (TSD), Organic Agriculture Division (OAD), and Laboratory Services Division (LSD). The online webinar focused on the basic principles, concepts, and processes of developing a risk profile in fresh agricultural products and the introduction of the Foodomics or “omics technology” and its role in food safety.
One of the speakers emphasized that in order for the Risk Managers to make decisions and further actions on a Food safety issue, a high-quality Risk Profiling and broadly applicable strategies should be strengthened. All hazardous chemicals pose no risk if there is no exposure. A breakout session was also conducted to provide an exercise to the participants on the identification of chemical hazards, their source, and the actions to address these identified hazards in fresh meat. A pre-test and post-test were conducted to assess the knowledge gained by the participants throughout the session.
Ms. Edna Lynn Floresca closed the seminar with her message, “We learn together and we work together.” She explained that functions in BAFS Divisions are interrelated, thus the importance of opening learning opportunities to all, and for the BAFS family to learn together. This is the second in a series of seminars hosted by the LSD. More seminars and training will be conducted to progress the knowledge and skills of BAFS technical personnel in risk analysis of food. ###