Agriculture Secretary William Dar said this favorable development is due to the recent inclusion of the Philippines by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) in its list of certified countries that passed the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point-based (HACCP) hygiene management protocols.
“This is definitely a big boost for our livestock producers, and food manufacturers, meat processors and exporters, as we continue to look for market opportunities to jumpstart the country’s economic recovery amid the pandemic,” the agri chief said.
“It is also a testament to our commitment in providing safe, healthy and world-class quality food for both domestic and export markets, and Japan is a discriminating market. Thus, we look forward to penetrating more export markets,” he added.
“We are pleased that we have successfully hurdled Japan’s stringent food safety and hygiene management standards,” Secretary Dar said.
Hence, the Philippines can start exporting beef, carabeef, pork, chevon, mutton and their by-products to Japan. Article 11 of Japan’s Food Sanitation Law provides that only meat products using HACCP management systems may be imported into the country.
Since 2003, the Department of Agriculture through its National Meat Inspection Service (DA-NMIS) has implemented the mandatory application of the HACCP program in all licensed “triple A” (Philippines meat) meat establishments. HACCP is a science-based, systematic protocol that identifies hazards and measures for their control to ensure food safety.
Prior to getting the thumbs-up to ship processed meat products to Japan, the Philippines was only allowed to export chicken meat, mainly used for grilling as “yakitori.” said DA-NMIS Director Jocelyn Salvador.
Yakitori is a Japanese menu where bite-sized chicken, beef, pork and other meat or fish are put on skewers, which are then grilled and served.
“The HACCP certification implies that the systems of certification of the Philippines are at par with global standards,” Salvador said.
“The significance of this move by Tokyo is that they rely upon and trust our systems of certification. This means that if the Philippines certifies certain establishments and meat products, Japan will automatically accept this certification without question,” she added.
To date, there are at least 70 Philippine meat establishments—including slaughterhouses, meat-cutting plants, poultry dressing plants, and cold storage facilities—in the country that have “Philippines meat” certification from the DA-NMIS, the list of which has been furnished to the Japan’s MHLW, Salvador said.
Japan remains one of the country’s largest trading partners which was further enhanced with the signing of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in 2006.
The country’s major agriculture exports to Japan include Cavendish banana, pineapple, coconut oil, and chicken yakitori.
“This is a victory, and we are now reaping the rewards of the DA’s continuing efforts to educate Philippine food manufacturers to adhere to global food safety standards,” said Secretary Dar.
“This is in line with the Duterte administration’s strategy to increase the country’s exports of farm and fishery products, with emphasis on diversified and expanded value-chain or food systems from farms and fishing grounds, to processing, and finally to dining tables. We will therefore continue to push for more exports of farm and fishery products to propel the agri-industrialization of the Philippine countryside,” he concluded. ■
A sharp cold front marking the leading edge of an arctic air mass will surge into the Plains today, bringing rapidly falling temperatures and blustery west to northwesterly winds across the Great Lakes, Midwest, and into the Ohio Valley this morning.