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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Department of Agriculture reconstitutes body for foreign meat establishments’ accreditation

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) has announced the reconstitution of two inter-agency bodies to fast-track the accreditation of foreign meat establishments (FMEs) that are allowed to export meat products to the country.

Senior Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban issued twin Special Orders (SO) that reformed the Pre-Inspection Committee (PIC) and the Accreditation Review Body (ARB) for FME accreditation.

“In the exigency of the service and in view of the change of leadership in the different offices of the DA and with the need to fast-track the processing of the application of foreign countries for accreditation of their meat establishment the DA PIC for FME Accreditation,” Panganiban said in SO 161 series of 2023.

The PIC, which will be chaired by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director, is tasked to plan and prepare the DA Inspection Missions (DAIM) that would conduct the physical inspections of the FMEs to be accredited in their respective countries.

The PIC shall also draft the guidelines for the identification and training of FME inspectors, official procedures for inspection, and reportorial requirements, among others. The body shall submit regular progress reports to the Agriculture Secretary.

The members of the PIC include the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) Director, DA Policy Research Service Director, DA International Affairs Division Chief, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards-Standards Development Division Chief, BAI-National Quarantine Services Division Chief, and NMIS Meat Import Export Division Chief.

Meanwhile, Panganiban issued SO 160 series of 2023 for the reconstitution of the ARB that will be chaired by Agriculture Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and Regulations. The ARB members will be the BAI Director, NMIS Director, DA Legal Division Director, DA PRS Director, and the BAFS Director.

The ARB shall review the findings and recommendations made by the DAIM on the respective FMEs that it inspected.

The ARB will also recommend to the agriculture secretary the necessary action regarding an FME application, whether it will be a conditional or complete approval or a denial of accreditation.

The ARB can also call on experts and resource persons to verify and validate the DAIM reports.

FMEs undergo a series of procedures undertaken by the PIC and ARB in order to be accredited to export meat products to the Philippines. The inspections conducted by local authorities are aimed at ensuring that FMEs are compliant with health and food safety standards. -30-

Image credits: Vitaliy Hrabar | Dreamstime.com

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