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Manila Farm steps for next level, no turning back

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By JOHN MAICO M. HERNANDEZ

STO. TOMAS, Batangas – THE Manila Farm can now assure more quality and safe processed dragon fruit products after participating in the DOST-initiated training on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Documentation, Jan. 17-18.

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The numerous number of fruit supply during peak season confronts many dragon fruit owners and Manila Farm, owned and managed by Mr. Ven and Sernie Manila, has no excuse. Whenever unsold, their dragon fruits normally become wastes.

In response to this problem, PSTC Batangas tapped UPLB-IFST to conduct product development to make a value-adding solution on dragon fruit and save all the recurring farm issue. A training course facilitated by UPLB-IFST researchers, Ms. Claire Zubia and Ms. Diane Belan was pursued on Aug. 31, 2018 in an aim to process the oversupply of dragon fruits.

Dragon fruit wine, jam, and ready-to-drink juice were the products taught to the participants. While the firm sees the large potential and good market performance of their products, they still want to boost its marketability through getting hold of certifications and licenses such as FDA License to Operate. As to guidelines, training on food safety is a prerequisite to attainment of these.

In support to their pursuit of aligning their production facility and meet the food safety standards, employees who are directly and indirectly involved in the production were engaged in the activity. They were educated with guidelines to adhere while performing particular operations in the production area according to the standards set by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Topics such as food safety, GMP, food hazards (biological, chemical, physical and allergens), cross-contamination, personnel hygiene, food contact surface, pest control, good hygiene practices and food preparation were covered during the training. Proper handwashing was demonstrated well to the participants using the Glo-Germ Kit.

Several workshop activities were also conducted to provide demonstrations and simulate situations during food preparation. Trained participants evidenced learning through satisfactory demonstration results.

Meanwhile, drafting of the firm’s GMP manual was also pursued as part of the workshop which involved the owners and production managers. Mr. Ellgine Libao and Mr. John Maico Hernandez of DOST Batangas facilitated the two-day activity.|

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