News: Local coconut products to meet global standards -
01 Jun 2008
200806011454510.dongjiao-coconut-plantation2.jpgMANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) recently launched its food safety campaign, boosting efforts to help coconut products comply with international standards. Intended to reduce cancer-causing aflatoxin and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in coconut products, the initiative is part of a multisectoral effort involving coconut farmers, millers, traders, officials from the government agencies and from the European Union (EU) Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines.
The launch was simultaneously carried out in Zamboanga City, Davao City, Lucena City, Catarman City, and Calbayog City, the country’s major coconut producers, according to a statement released by the PCA.
“The food safety campaign reinforces PCA’s advocacy not only to improve farm productivity but more specifically to help our coconut farmers improve the quality of copra they produce," PCA Administrator Oscar Garin said.
Under the EU-funded Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA), the PCA has awarded 15 two-burner kukum dryers to 15 coconut farmers-cooperatives across the country to assist the farmers in shifting from drying their copra under the sun or in direct smoke-dryers (tapahan). A kukum dryer is designed to send off heat unto the coconut meal without the dirt from the road if it is by the sun-drying or without the smoke if drying by the kiln.
International food safety standards set the limit of aflatoxin contamination at 20 ppb (parts per billion).Meanwhile, the German Society for Edible Oils proposed an upper limit of 5 ppb for heavy PAH together with a total PAH content of less than 25 ppb.
Under the TRTA Programme, 550 coconut farmers have been trained in proper copra drying using the kukum dryers and in moisture reading, while 240 coconut-based food processors have also received training on food safety handling, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
Copra produces crude coconut oil and copra cake as residue which are major export commodities of the Philippines.
Until recently, EU imports averaged 447,504 tons of coconut oil annually for the last 10 years principally from the Philippines but this has decreased due to increasing demand for safe food.
Coconut oil comprises 4.18 percent of the world’s production of all vegetable oils. The oil is also used in the manufacture of non-food products such as soaps, detergents and cosmetic products.