When in Cebu City, doubt no longer as you chew that barbeque you just bought from a street food hawker. If the cook, who may also be the vendor, went through the food safety awareness seminar co-organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), chances are, it’s safe.
This is after 80 Cebu City-based food vendors participated in the food safety awareness seminar organized by DOST VII, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Germany’s AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation through its collaborative program “Optimizing and Upscaling Roles in the Food Supply and Value Chain” (OURFood).
The seminar was held recently in Cebu City in cooperation with the Cebu City government and the Cebu Provincial government.
Resource person Josie F. Elli, Senior SRS and food safety expert of DOST VII, taught the street vendor participants the importance of sanitation, hygiene, and food safety as vital aspect to all food service operations. This will guarantee that the food being served is safe to eat.
These food vendors are operating in Larsian Barbeque Bazaar and Cebu South Bus Terminal. Larsian is a circle of small eateries where the different vendors hawk their barbecues. The Cebu South Bus Terminal vendors also operate small eateries or local pasalubong stalls. Larsian and Cebu South Bus Terminal have been part of the tourism industry in Cebu.
The safety of the barbecues and the local food delicacies sold by these street vendors is one of the Cebu City government’s concern as most clients of these establishments are local and international tourists. Through the seminar, organizers hope that food preparation of these vendors will adhere to food safety measures and will keep consumers away from food-borne diseases.
Cebu City Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, chair of the Committee on Health, emphasized that food safety equates to public health and that the knowledge on sanitation, hygiene and food safety is vital to all food service operations to guarantee that the food being served remains safe to eat.
Over the past decade, the issue of food safety and hygiene has become a primary concern of consumers and is their first yardstick in patronizingfood establishments.
DOST VII through the Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) has been consistently assisting the food industry as one of its priority sectors. DOST VII created the country’s pioneering multidisciplinary team of trained food safety specialists – the DOST VII Food Safety Team-- to assist the food SMEs.
The DOST food safety program is strengthened with the collaboration with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and AFOS Foundation through the OURFood Program. The program is designed to be market-driven to increase value creation in the primary and manufacturing food sectors through training and qualification throughout the entire supply chain.
Currently, the food safety team has been expanded to Cebu Food Consultancy Group (CFCG)which is now capable of supporting food SMEs not only in food safety but also in food technology.The new group includes food safety and food technology experts from the DOST, the academe, other government agencies, and private sector.
The partnership with Cebu City government and Cebu Provincial government is a significant milestone in the implementation of the OURFood program. The partnership aims to get local legislative support and attain maximum reach of the program.