The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of food security, food safety, and self-sufficiency among nations. With the growing demand for food, the advancement and tremendous scope in the field of Food Science and Technology has been very promising in addressing the following concerns: improvement in the quality of food, food safety, elimination of diseases, food security, affordability costs of food items, better preservation techniques, and lesser food wastage, among others.
Food technology ensures sustainable food production systems and implements resilient practices that increase productivity, which as a result, strengthens the capacity of communities to produce alternative food choices and maintain the expansion of our current food supply.
BS Food Technology Program
The Bachelor of Science in Food Technology (BSFT) is a four-year degree program that focuses on the scientific preparation, processing, and distribution of food, involving techniques and processes that are used to transform raw materials into food. Students will be trained to perform and conduct food analysis, comply with food laws and regulations in manufacturing and distribution of food, develop new food products and improve existing ones, and implement quality management systems.
This program is offered in many higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country that produces graduates who can serve as human resources and experts in the food industry and other sectors requiring the skills and knowledge of a food technology graduate. However, many food technologists often fall short in practicing their profession without a license for the following reasons:
1) They could not affix their signature on significant technical documents that would signify their authority to approve/disapprove a technical process; and
2) Most worthwhile job assignments while employed were given to licensed technical personnel.
To address this, the field of Food Technology became the newest addition to the number of professions currently regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) through Republic Act No. 110521, or the “Philippine Food Technology Act” signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on 29 June 29 2018.
Under this law, the “newly created Board of Food Technology is tasked to promulgate, administer, and enforce rules and regulations as well as supervise and regulate the registration, licensure and practice of food technology in the country”.
First Philippine Regulatory Board of Food Technology
More than three years after the approval of the law, DOST-XI Regional Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, CESO III, first Chairperson of the Board, and the first member of the Board, Remedios Baclig who was appointed by President Duterte, were issued their appointments on 8 July 2021, and formally took their oath on 15 July 2021. The Philippine Regulatory Board of Food Technology (PRB FT) became one of two newest PRBs approved by the President and the PRB Members as the first Professional Food Technologists in the country.
An online orientation of the new PRB FT was conducted on 10-11 August 2021 to acquaint and provide the new Board members with information on the mandate and commitments, as well as the core operations and complementary role of the PRB and the PRC in the regulation of the professions.
Professional Regulatory Board of Food Technology Seal
Part of its mandate is the adoption of an official seal of the Board, based on the initial design prepared by Baclig, with inputs from Dr. Sales. PRB FT Resolution No. 01 Series of 2021 on the “Adoption of the Seal of the Professional Regulatory Board of Food Technology” was published on 3 November 2021 and came into effect on 17 November 2021 as shown in Annex I.
The final version and details on the description of the Seal is shown below:
One of the significant milestones of the PRB FT last year was the formulation of its Work Plan for CY 2021 which included programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) corresponding to the mandated functions of the Board, the schedule of implementation of the different PPAs, the expected outputs of each PPA, and the PRB Focal Person/s for each PPA. Other milestones also included:
1. Crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11052 initiated by Prof. Ma. Leonora dL. Francisco, the President of the Philippine Association of Food Technologists (PAFT), Inc.
2. Adoption of the Professional Regulatory Board of Food Technology Seal
3. Crafting of the Code of Professional Conduct
4. Drafting of the Guidelines for Registration Without Examination
5. Development of the Professional Competitiveness Roadmap for Food Technology which focused on six (6) Key Result Areas for development of professional food technologists namely: Licensure Examination, CPD/CPSP, Internationalization, Registration Without Examination, Inspection and Monitoring, and Research and Development.
6. Crafting of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Philippine Association of Food Technologists, Inc. as Accredited Integrated Professional Organization
7. Schedule of Inspection and Monitoring of HEIs for CY 2022
Plans Moving Forward
Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, PRB FT will continue to pursue its duties and mandates in accordance to its objectives for the food technology profession, moving forward for this year. The following major activities shall be undertaken in CY 2022:
1. CY 2022-2027 Strategic Planning
2. CY 2022 Work Plan
3. CY 2022 Calendar for Inspection and Monitoring of Educational Establishments
4. Development of TOS and Test Questions for Licensure Examination
5. Mid-Year and Yearend Assessment and Planning
6. Development of Continuing Professional Education Program
In addition, plans of undertaking an intensive workshop to equip the different PRBs with the knowledge and skills to properly develop their respective Table of Specifications and Test Questions for the Licensure Examinations were included in the Work Plan for 2022.
PRB FT also hopes to implement another initiative which is the Industry-Academe Collaboration in Instruction, Research, and Internship of Students in Board Programs (Specific Focus on Food Technology). This program will provide facilities and equipment for instruction, research and development, and internship for students enrolled in programs requiring licensure examinations. The private sector will also be involved and will be encouraged to donate equipment, facilities, supplies and materials to HEIs for the purpose of enhancing instruction, research and development, as well as internship on-campus.
The facilities and equipment can be used to establish research and innovation centers within the campus to support the holistic development of students which includes exposing them to actual working conditions in the industry. Through this, the academe-industry collaboration will be further strengthened in the field of research, and industry perspective that will be provided in the instruction and internship programs of HEIs. As a result, students will develop knowledge and skills that are aligned with industry requirements.
Professionalizing food technology is a great start to address challenges, protect the integrity and safety of the National Food Supply Chain, and advance emerging food technologies that have the potential to produce high-quality, nutritious, safe, and sustainable food products that will meet the needs and demands of a diverse consumer population. (DOST XI S&T Information and Promotion/Noemi Lynne B. Visto, Information and Communication Section, Department of Science and Technology Regional Office No. XI Office No.: (082)227-1313)