Thursday, June 11, 2015

Philippines: ASEAN food safety experts participate in workshop on making food safety risk messages more effective

The Philippines hosted the Food Safety Risk Communication Workshop as a member state of the ASEAN Expert Group on Food Safety (AEGFS), which is under the auspices of the Senior Official Meeting for Health Development (SOMHD), ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting (AHMM).  Delegates from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam, with observers from the health, agriculture, and science & technology departments participated in the workshop.

Food safety is a top priority in the Strategic Framework on Health and Development adopted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Cooperation and communication are key factors in ensuring that appropriate messages are conveyed to stakeholders and the public, especially when there are safety issues surrounding food.

On 3 -5 June, the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) organized a training workshop on food safety risk communication for the ASEAN Plus Three. The workshop is in line with the DOH’s commitment to the food safety improvement plan of the ASEAN to strengthen the capacity of national authorities to manage food safety risk communication.  The workshop covered the fundamentals of risk communication and collaborative techniques on communicating food safety risks presented by resource speakers from the DOH, Food and Health Organization, University of the Philippines Los BaƱos, and IRRI.

Dr. Mariane Umali, manager for stakeholder outreach and advocacy of the Golden Rice project,  facilitated the module on the use of multimedia channels and social media in risk communication as well as  best practices. The workshop also provided a venue for sharing experiences in risk communication.

The first two days of the workshop was held at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City while third session was conducted at the IRRI headquarters in Laguna. Dr. Bruce Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships, welcomed the delegates and provided an overview of the Institute’s research agenda. Meanwhile, Dr. Violeta Villegas, Golden Rice project coordinator, briefed the participants on IRRI’s healthier rice program.

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