Are you sure that the food you eat is taken care of with the highest international Food Safety standard?

When the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office No. 02 (DA RFO 02) found out that pesticide residues are high in vegetables and fruits, the agency has to intervene.

The Food Safety Act of 2013 or also known as Republic Act 10611 is an Act to Strengthen the Food Safety Regulatory System in the Country to Protect Consumer Health and Facilitate Market Access of Local Foods and Food Products for Other Purposes.

DA RFO 02 tapped the Local Government Unit of Santiago City to pilot the testing and monitoring of products specifically vegetables to guarantee that the products they sell at the local markets are pesticide safe.

In series of meetings and consultations, DA RFO 02 and Santiago City came up with a team to conduct Rapid Testing Kit (rtk) every day at 11 p.m. in identified entry points at the local markets.

With the support of stakeholders, vegetable growers and associations, results of RTK were brought to the Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Laboratory (CVIAL) in Tuguegarao City.

On April 12, 2019, the Santiago City Food Program Update and Coordination Meeting were conducted to present the result of the analyses on the prior testing.

The team found out that almost all samples were positive with carbamates in a high percentage of 97. 61 percent of all samples analyzed were above the maximum residue limit (MRL).

OIC-Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulatory Rose Mary G. Aquino said that with the support of everyone the end goal to eradicate the alarming increase of illnesses, from food and water-borne diseases and unsanitary, misbranded foods that will at least help the people of Cagayan Valley.

“We started this program to help educate our farmers and create awareness to our consumers if they really know where their food is coming from,” she lamented, adding “that we should advocate this endeavor especially that it concerns our health.”

DA RFO 02 Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo emphasized the importance of shared responsibility in producing safe and quality foods for the consumers.

“At this time, not only that vegetables will be prioritized, but also we will start to test fruits, livestock and other agricultural commodities,” he said.

The city government also received RTKs and pieces of training related to product handling like Good Agricultural Practices.

Santiago City today is moving forward to its goal in securing safe and accessible food for its citizen.

The said event was also an avenue to encourage other LGUs to do the best practices of Santiago City.

Pesticide safe vegetables wrapped in banana leaves were displayed at the local markets to promote the advocacies both concerning our health and the environment.