GAP certification upholds food safety

GAP certification upholds food safety

Cagayan de Oro City – TO underscore the food safety aspect of farming and the benefits of implementing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in the farm, a Farmers-Consolidators-Supermarkets Forum entitled Food Safety Along the Supply Chain was recently held in this city.

This was spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10 (DA-10) through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division in coordination with the Bureau of Agriculture and Food Product Standards (BAFPS).

Likewise, it specifically aimed to promote the adoption of GAP in the farms, considering that there has been a consumers’ shift from merely satisfying hunger to that of opting to alternative choices for a healthier lifestyle.

In her report, Ms. Mary Grace Mandigma, OIC-Chief Science Research Specialist of BAFPS explained, that GAP intends to apply existing knowledge to address environmental, economic and social sustainability dimensions for on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting to safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products.

With the GAP certification at hand, she stressed, that it will empower farmers to respond to the demands of consumers that are within a specific criteria to produce quality and safe food.

As testimony for reaping the advantages brought by a GAP certification, various speakers from the large, medium and small-scaled companies have imparted their respective experiences, so as to persuade more agricultural advocates to undergo the process of being GAP certified.

These include Maria Lennaluz U. Rizon, Del Monte, Philippines, Inc.; Mr. Nick Dempo, Cardava Integrated Inland Farming; Mr. Reagan Navarro, Tagum Agricultural Development, Corp.; Mr. Alexander Parducho, Leoni Agri, Corp.; and Mr. Jonah Nobleza, SDC Asia.

By and large, they have conveyed that although GAP certification does not entirely guarantee food safety, it is a crucial step in advancing food safety and in signaling buyers those particular practices in the production, harvesting and postharvest handling stages are in conformity to food safety guidelines.

Moreso, they have illustrated that by following the principles behind GAP, there is the minimization of occurrence or the prevention of contamination from the farm down to the arrival of products to consumers.

To this date, the DA through BAFPS has received 19 applications, of which some have already been certified and have undergone renewal. # (Joanne L. Olson, DA-10)

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