After the successful implementation of the Food Safety Program in Santiago City as the pilot area in 2019, followed by Isabela, Cagayan, and Nueva Vizcaya in 2020, the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office No. 02 is expanding its program in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, in partnership with its Local Government Unit and the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal, Inc.

NVAT is one of Luzon’s largest food terminals supplying farm produce to the National Capital Region and Luzon.

The NVAT management has recently passed a resolution ensuring that vegetables coming in and out are pesticide-safe through a mini-laboratory that was provided and funded by the DA RFO 02, making it the pilot agricultural terminal for the Food Safety Program in the region for testing pesticide residue in vegetables, considering that safe food is one of the priority concerns of consumers nowadays.

Through the program, NVAT with the assistance of DA RFO 02, will now conduct random sampling and analysis of farm produce coming in and out from the food terminal to determine if pesticide residues’ levels comply with that of the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) using Rapid Test Kits (RTKs).

Bambang Mayor Pepito Balgos said he will give his full support to this cause to ensure the well-being of the buying public.

“I fully support and act accordingly in the partnership in implementing the Food Safety Act here in my town,” Balgos said during the Information Caravan and Orientation last February 4.

The activity highlighted the presentation of salient features of the Food Safety Act emphasizing the roles of LGUs and the private sector.

“We are continuously reaching out to region’s LGUs, FCAs, producers, and other interested parties for this program,” said Regional Technical Director Rose Mary G. Aquino.

Meanwhile, NVAT General Manager Gilber Cumila thanked DA RFO 02 for enrolling the terminal in the Food Safety Program.

“I thank DA for heeding the call since our terminal is the point location with all the produce coming from different nearby provinces, thus the public must be consuming food that is safe and accessible,” Cumila added.

DA will train farmers or suppliers of farm produce for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) if the analysis’s initial result would yield to above the set MRLs.

“Don’t worry, once your agricultural produce show MRLs we will train and help you with GAP,” said Aquino.

She urged the different LGUs to converge and help DA make sure that the Food Safety program is in full effect.

DA has repositioned its biologists to collect samples daily, starting February 8.

With reports from Jonabelle Infante

Photos by Erwin Cachero