KNOW YOUR SMALL BIZ LAW: The Food Safety Act (part 2)

food-safety-organizations-1What are the prohibited acts under the Food and Safety Act of 2013?

It shall be unlawful for any person to:

1. Produce, handle or manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the Philippines any food or food product which is not in conformity with an applicable food quality or safety standard promulgated in accordance with this law.

2. Produce, handle or manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the Philippines any food or food product which has been declared as banned food product by a rule promulgated in accordance with this law.

3. Refuse access to pertinent records or entry of inspection officers of the FSRA.

4. Fail to comply with an order relating to notifications to recall unsafe products.

5. Adulterate, misbrand, mislabel, falsely advertise any food product which misleads the consumers and carry out any other acts contrary to good manufacturing practices.

6. Operate a food business without the appropriate authorization.

7. Connive with food business operators or food inspectors, which will result in food safety risks to the consumers.

8. Violate the implementing rules and regulations of this law.

What are the applicable penalties for persons criminally liable?

Any person who shall violate any provision of this Act shall suffer the penalties provided hereunder:

a. For the first conviction, a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 and suspension of appropriate authorization for 1 month shall be imposed.

b. For the second conviction, a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P200,000 and suspension of appropriate authorization for 3 months shall be imposed.

c. For the third conviction, a line of not less than P200,000 but not more than P300,000 and suspension of appropriate authorization for 6 months shall be imposed.

d. For violation resulting in slight physical injury of a person, upon conviction, a line of not less than P200,000 but not more than P300,000 and suspension of appropriate authorization for 6 months shall be imposed. The offender shall also pay the hospitalization and rehabilitation cost of a person.

e. For violation resulting in less serious or serious physical injury of a person, upon conviction, a line of not less than P200,000 but not more than P300,000 and suspension of appropriate authorization for 1 year shall be imposed. The offender shall also pay the hospitalization and rehabilitation cost of a person.

f. For violation resulting in death of a person, upon conviction, the penalty of imprisonment of not less than 6 months and 1 day but not more than 6 years and 1 day and a line of not less than P300,000 but not more than P500,000 and permanent revocation of appropriate authorization to operate a food business shall be imposed.

If the offender does not have the appropriate authorization, the imposable fines shall be doubled.

If the offender is a government personnel, in addition to the penalty prescribed herein, said personnel shall be subjected to the appropriate civil service laws.

If the offender is a naturalized citizen, in addition to the penalty prescribed herein, the naturalization certificate and the registration in the civil registry of said citizen shall be cancelled. Immediate deportation after payment of line and service of sentence shall also be imposed.

If the offender is an alien, said alien shall be summarily deported after payment of fine and service of sentence and perpetually barred from entering the country.

Any director, officer or agent of a corporation who shall authorize, order or perform any of the acts or practices constituting in whole or in part a violation of on the prohibited acts, and who has knowledge or notice of noncompliance received by the corporation from the concerned department, shall be subjected to the penalties under this section.

In case the violation is committed by, or in the interest of a foreign juridical person duly licensed to engage in business in the Philippines, such license to engage in business in the Philippines shall immediately be revoked.

Who are accountable for Food Safety Regulation?

The FSRAs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Health (DOH), in coordination with the LGUs, shall be responsible in ensuring food safety at various stages of the food supply chain within their specified mandates.

What is FSRA?

FSRA stands for Food Safety Regulatory Agencies, which are the following national government agencies:

Various agencies under the DA, which shall be principally responsible for food safety in the primary production and post-harvest stages of food supply chain and foods locally produced or imported in this category.

Various agencies under the DOH, which shall have the principal responsibility for the safety of processed and prepackaged foods, foods locally produced or imported under this category and the conduct of monitoring and epidemiological studies on food-borne illnesses.

What are the responsibilities of the Department of Local Government (DILG) and the LGUs?

The DILG, in collaboration with the DA, the DOH and other government agencies, shall supervise the enforcement of food safety and sanitary rules and regulations as well as the inspection and compliance of business establishments and facilities within its territorial jurisdiction.

The LGUs shall have the principal responsibility for food safety in food businesses such as, but not limited to, activities in slaughterhouses, dressing plants, fish ports, wet markets, supermarkets, school canteens, restaurants, catering establishments and water refilling stations. The LGU shall also be responsible for street food sale, including ambulant vending. Specifically, the LGUs shall be responsible for the enforcement of the “Code on Sanitation of the Philippines” (Presidential Decree No. 856, December 23, 1975), food safety standards and food safety regulations where food is produced, processed, prepared and/or sold in their territorial jurisdiction.

Source: Jaromay Laurente Pamaon Philippine e-legal forum

 

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