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Dr. Manuel M. Garcia, a Food Development Center visiting consultant from Canada, led the Seminar on Enhancing Food Safety in CALABARZON held last March 15 to 19, 2010 at the Splash Mountain Resort, Los Banos, Laguna.

The seminar, one of several banner activities of the program on Regional Food Safety and Quality Assurance by DOST CALABARZON, tapped into Dr. Garcia's expertise through DOST's Balik-Scientist program. Dr. Garcia, a corresponding member of the National Academy of Science and Technology (DOST-NAST), returned as visiting foreign adviser of the Natural Sciences Research Institute-UP Diliman, Philippine Coconut Authority and the Career Executive Service Organization. He is currently working with universities, industry, and other government agencies.

During the seminar, he discussed present day international perspective on local food safety issues as well as provided a forum for active scientific and technical exchange of knowledge among 100 participants. In addition, he provided workable technologies that would improve the efficiency and economic viability of local food manufacturing operations.

On the other hand, Guilberto A. Veluz, officer-in-charge of the Technical Operations Division of DOST CALABARZON, gave empirical but technically sound guidelines on Farm-to-Table Food Safety. Emelita P. Bagsit, head of the Regional Standards and Testing Laboratory, supported Veluz's exposition with a discussion of the various tests, calibration and other related services of DOST CALABARZON. Lastly, Emmylyn A. Tagnia of the Food and Drugs Administration listed their inspection and licensing requirement.

Meanwhile, seven leading national companies exhibited state of the art rapid test kits and other technologies on food hygiene, workplace sanitation and food safety. These were 3M Philippines, Brownstone Asia-Tech, Inc., BW2 Holdings, Dakila Trading Corporation, Glenwood Technologies International, Inc., PHILAB Industries, Inc., and Santienz Philippines, Inc. The seminar-exhibition was attended by 16 local food manufacturers, 15 local government units, 6 food service units of hotels and food shops, 5 academic institutions, and 5 national government agencies.

A lecture on Predictive Microbiology through use of the ComBase-Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP), and meeting of the Food Safety Team were also held to close the week-long activity.

Launched in 2008, the program on Regional Food Safety and Quality Assurance advocates the precept of food safety among seven regions in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Veluz, as Food Safety Team Leader of the Luzon Cluster Shepherd Region, leads DOST-CAR, DOST Region I, DOST Region II, DOST Region III, DOST MIMAROPA Region, and DOST-NCR. This year, DOST Regions II, III and IVB joined them in the seminar-exhibition. Members of the DOST CALABARZON Food Safety Team include: food technologists - Guilberto A. Veluz, Jane Agnes U. Olivares, Lyn F. Aggangan, and Jeny S. Bronburac; chemists - Emelita P. Bagsit and Maria Lorelie P. Dorado; nutritionist - Amor C. Chozas; and industrial microbiologist - Nina S. Giron.?(AMGuevarra\DOST IV-A S&T Media Service)