By: Krizzia Mei C. Esperanza

The Department of Science and Technology – CALABARZON (DOST-CALABARZON) Food Safety Team attended the United States National Restaurant Association (US NRA) ServSafe Food Protection Manager Online Training and Certification on January 19-20, 2021. The participation to the two-day online course is part of the DOST-CALABARZON’s initiative to better assist individuals and MSMEs in the food industry even amidst the pandemic.

Just a few months ago, in November 2020, the DOST-CALABARZON soft launched the Food Safety Self-Assessment Tool (FSSAT), a web application for home-based and online food sellers to track their compliance to basic food hygiene. The FSSAT is under development, and the DOST-CALABARZON’s participation to the online course only contributes in improving the web-based tool.  Ms. Emelita P. Bagsit, the OIC-Regional Director of the DOST-CALABARZON, in her opening remarks, cited this project, among other initiatives of the office, as an important step in ensuring food safety in the region despite the challenging restrictions brought about by the pandemic.

ServSafe-certified food safety trainers and proctors, Mr. Bryan Ybañez, the OIC-Provincial Director of the DOST Provincial Science and Technology Center – Cebu (DOST PSTC-Cebu), and Ms. Marichu Baclay, a member of the DOST-Cebu Food Safety Team (DOST-CFST), served as the resource speakers in the online course. They introduced and discussed ten topics on Food Protection Management, including Forms of Food Contamination, Food Handling, Preparation and Service, Sanitary Facilities and Pest Management, and Food Safety Management Systems. After each topic, the speakers quizzed and provided the participants with supplementary learning materials.

From top to bottom: Mr. Bryan Ybañez and Ms. Marichu Baclay discuss their respective US NRA ServSafe program chapters, January 19-20, 2021.

On the second day, after the participants completed the course, Mr. Ybañez and Ms. Baclay facilitated the online ServSafe Food Protection Manager Examination. Earning the passing score of at least 75% is required for the participants to secure the Food Protection Manager certificate. Soon after, 100% of the examinees received the announcement that they passed the exam together with their respective e-certificate.

The online training and certification course produced 17 ServSafe Food Protection Managers, 15 of which are members of the DOST-CALABARZON Food Safety Team, while the other two are Food Safety Team members of the Department of Trade and Industry – Rizal (DTI-Rizal), and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

US NRA ServSafe offers a variety of food and beverage safety training and certificate programs, including Food Protection Management. It is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Conference for Food Protection (CFP). Its food safety certification is one of the most recognized in the world. ServSafe certificates are valid for 5 years, and is required for food handlers in several countries, including the US, Canada, and Australia. International and multi-national restaurants and hotels in the Philippines also require the certificate from their food handlers.