China's Xinhua news agency today reported that Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved a law that aims to protect consumers from trade malpractices and substandard or hazardous food products. Although President Aquino signed the bill — Republic Act No. 10611, to be known as the Food Safety Act of 2013 — into law on August 23, the presidential palace just informed the media on September 3.
Section 3 of the Act states that "to strengthen the food safety regulatory system in the country, the State shall adopt the following specific objectives:"
a. Protect the public from food-borne and water-borne illnesses and unsanitary, unwholesome, misbranded or adulterated foods;
b. Enhance industry and consumer confidence in the food regulatory system; and
c. Achieve economic growth and development by promoting fair trade practices and sound regulatory foundation for domestic and international trade.
Further, the law explains that "towards the attainment of these objectives, the following measures shall be implemented:"
- Delineate and link the mandates and responsibilities of the government agencies involved;
- Provide a mechanism for coordination and accountability in the implementation of regulatory functions;
- Establish policies and programs for addressing food safety hazards and developing appropriate standards and control measures;
- Strengthen the scientific basis of the regulatory system; and
- Upgrade the capability of farmers, fisherfolk, industries, consumers and government personnel in ensuring food safety.
The full text of the Act is available here.