Just last week, during our first meeting, my professor did the routine of getting to know — introducing himself and getting to know the students or the so-called “meet and greet”. We were asked to state the following: our name, undergraduate school and course, work, and desired grade. Haha! My turn came and of course I stated the same, but my professor asked “what is Food Technology? Ano yun nagluluto kayo?” For me, and for the rest of the Food Technologists (FTs) it is a/n FAQ, we always have a ready reply for this and it would consist of words and phrases that would deviate what we do aside from cooking then glorify it with some scientific terms to put a heavier conviction for it. Which I did, although there are few definitions that can be found on the internet.
But the time has come, that we already have a legal basis or definition for it in the Philippines. Under section 3 par. b of the Senate Bill 1269 otherwise known as PHILIPPINE FOOD TECHNOLOGY ACT OF 2016, provides:
“Food Technology is the application of science and related fields of study in postharvest handling, preparation, processing, packaging, storage and distribution of food to ensure food security and well being of individuals families and communities. It includes the social, cultural, economic, managerial and environmental aspects of a food system”
The first premise focuses on what areas of study is involved, in school, FT students are trained to have scientific eyes for Food through the application of science generally Chemistry and Microbiology, FT students treat food just like how a doctor is to a patient. Food is observed, examined and studied in the Laboratory mainly because we all know that food is the basic requirement for human beings in order to sustain life thus it should be rendered SAFE.
In 2013, RA 10611 or the Food Safety Act was enacted, however the Law was somehow generalized on who is equipped with the proper set of skills to reach its objectives. For me, this is where the FTs come to the picture and as defined in section 3 par. c of SB 1269
“ Food Technologist refers to a person qualified to practice food technology as provided in this act xxx”
From the above definitions, I think it is safe to say that one role of a Food Technologist is to ensure Food security and for a better understanding, I took the liberty to google it and found this
“Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, is the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
Indeed, food technologists play a major role in the society, thus the more necessity there is to have it professionalized. Senate Bill 1269 is one way to enhance the compliance mechanisms of the Food Safety Act because the former will give birth to professionals who are sufficiently equipped with scientific and technical knowledge about food, in effect, the former will strengthen the spirit and intent of the latter. We are now in the stage wherein we can say that it is just a matter of time.
I cannot tell when but a little learning in Political Law might help, my professor then taught me that a bill has to pass three readings wherein it has to be read, scrutinized, debated and voted on before it’s sent to the other chamber pursuant to the bicameral system of our legislative department then for the approval or veto (hope not) by the president. Senate bill 1269 has recently passed the three readings of the senate and we’ll be expecting it to be read, scrutinized, debated and voted on by the other chamber any time soon.
January 29, 2017, the Philippine Association of Food Technologists – Gamma Chapter (PAFT-Gamma) of De La Salle Araneta University formely “GAUF” celebrated its 50th anniversary. The school was the third institution to offer BS Food Technology in the Philippines and I am proud to be a part of it. As it turned gold, a new chapter will begin and a very promising one especially to the new graduates for the long wait is soon to be over.