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DA-BPI inaugurates Phl’s first mobile food testing lab, brings food safety closer to consumers, stakeholders

Author: DA-AFID | 12 April 2024

As the demand for food safety grows, the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) sought to bring government services related to food safety closer to consumers and stakeholders with the inauguration of the country’s first-ever mobile plant food safety laboratory held on April 11, 2024, at the DA-BPI compound in Malate, Manila.

Equipped with advanced testing tools, the state-of-the-art facility has a modular set-up that could accommodate rapid screening and testing for pesticide residue, heavy metals and microbiological contaminants in plant-origin food produce.

“This laboratory-on-wheels brings the tools of food safety directly to our agricultural communities, enabling proactive monitoring and immediate intervention. Its mobility ensures flexibility and accessibility, allowing us to reach even the most remote areas and respond promptly to emerging crises,” Agriculture Secretary Francisco P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. said as the DA-BPI unveiled the mobile lab and testing unit.

“As we continuously work towards a safer and more resilient agriculture sector, let us not lose sight of the fundamental principle that food safety is not just a task for our government agencies; it is everybody’s responsibility,” he added.

The agriculture chief said that the DA is committed to ensuring that food consumed by Filipinos is safe and is open to adopting new ideas and technology in pursuit of that goal. Moreover, he also expressed confidence that the mobile lab will enhance the export quality of goods to meet international market standards.

William Mugot, Chief of the Plant Product Safety Services Division of DA-BPI added that the mobile lab will roam around the country to reach remote areas in the Philippines, where access to traditional laboratory may be limited.

“This mobile lab intends to roam around the country, particularly in support of Philippine Good Agricultural Practices (PhilGAP) certification and para maabot namin iyong mga lugar na mahirap abutin. Of course, to increase awareness na rin on food safety at magkaroon ng food safety culture ang bansa,” he said.

The Mobile Plant Food Safety Laboratory is expected to be fully operational by May and will serve adjacent areas in Metro Manila as its first stop.

The inauguration was witnessed by Senator Cynthia Villar, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food; Gerald Glenn Panganiban, Ph.D, DA-BPI Director; Ruel Gesmundo, OIC-Assistant Director for Regulatory Services; and William Mugot, Chief of the DA-BPI Plant Product Safety Services Division. ### (Ira Y. Cruz, DA-AFID)

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