AN integrated Cold Examination Facility in Agriculture (CEFA) with complementary testing laboratories will soon be constructed which aims to prevent the smuggling of imported agricultural commodities and the entry of transboundary agri-fishery pests and diseases in the country.
Agriculture Secretary William Dar recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma to establish the country’s first CEFA at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).
Dar said that the facility will strengthen the country’s food safety regulatory system to protect consumer health.
As a first border facility, the CEFA located at a 2,000-square meter property of the SBMA, will be used to thoroughly inspect imported containerized agri-fishery commodities.
It will also house examination areas and laboratories intended for the execution of the quarantine and inspection protocols of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The CEFA will enable 100 percent in-depth inspection of containerized animal, fish, and plant commodities identified through the Risk Assessment Categorization and complemented by the X-ray screening of the Bureau of Customs which will be subject to sampling and laboratory testing.
Meanwhile, SBMA Administrator Eisma welcomed the partnership with DA and strongly supports the establishment of the CEFA, because it will also enhance the industrial and commercial activity and the free flow of goods within the SBFZ.
During the recently concluded DA Management Committee Meeting, SDar ordered that big-ticket infrastructure projects including the CEFA, Agri-industrial Business Corridors (ABCs), Fisheries Biotechnology Center, and the Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases or (CenTrAD) be prioritized for completion.