Onsite lab for food products to pilot in S. Mindanao

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched Monday the mobile laboratory as the facility to cater to the service, said engineer Jose Evangelio Jr., chief of the DOST's technical services division in the region.


He said once functional by the end of this year, the laboratory will address the problem of accessibility among food processors, cut time for testing results and also cut down costs. It will be the first mobile laboratory of its kind in the Philippines, Evangelio said.


He said the mobile laboratory will offer services such as basic analytical laboratory for water potability tests, physico-chemical analysis and microbial analysis, food technician support services, and a food safety resource center.


He said the P2.4-million facility, installed in a vehicle, will be staffed by at least two technicians, a chemical analyst and a microbiology expert.


Evangelio said the DOST will manage the laboratory but it was conceptualized to be eventually privatized. Earlier, DOST announced it will start servicing clients by this month, but Evangelio said they have yet to purchase the equipment.


He said the project, funded by a grant from the European Community, will help promote food safety and streamline requirements faced by rural enterprises in acquiring permits and meeting product quality standards.


The laboratory, with its capability to provide affordable cost, fast, and onsite services, will accelerate licensing procedures and enhance capacity of resource-poor enterprises to meet basic food safety and quality requirements of bigger and more lucrative markets.


The project aims to improve global competitiveness of the fresh and processed marine and tropical fruit supply chains in Mindanao. It aims to improve capability to meet market access requirements of the European Union food market.


The move, Evangelio said, was in response to the increasing regulation of products with process standards both at the public and private levels.


He said the mobile laboratory could also assist in facilitating the compliance of licensing requirements among food processors. Evangelio said the move will also spur expansion of small businessmen in areas outside urban centers that are constrained by the limitations of present laboratory testing requirements.