UPLB scientist crafts 1st pork traceability system in Phl

  • 16 June 2015, Tuesday

Source: The Philippine Star
14 Jun 2015

MANILA, Philippines - Dr. Jaderick P. Pabico of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and five other scientists have developed a pork traceability system that assures local and foreign consumers the pork they consume is safe and is of good quality.

Pabico’s paper, titled “Ensuring Meat Quality and Safety through a Nationwide Pork Traceability System,” was presented during the Information and Communication Technology-Asia (ICT-Asia) workshop sponsored by the French government and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in Los Baños, Laguna on May 25 and 26.

Also supported by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture; UPLB; and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the workshop was held barely a month before the Livestock Conference in the Philippines is convened.

“One of the meat production processes to ensure meat quality and safety involves tracking live animals and their respective meat cuts along the full length of the supply chain ‘from pen to plate,’ tracing the sources of meat cuts from the distribution center back to any point along the production chain, and verifying the truthfulness of meat packaging labels,” Pabico stressed.

The Nationwide Pork Traceability System (NPTS) is an ICT-based system that allows real-time tracking of animals from the pen to the abattoir and the tracing of meat cuts and permits the use of a DNA-based verification system.

SEARCA Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. said the NPTS represents an advancement on the system of monitoring of livestock but it is also a plus factor for the entry of Philippine meat products into the European Union (EU), which has been pushing for the ethical treatment of animals.

The Philippine livestock industry would also enjoy an advantage once the economies of the Asean member states are integrated this year since it is free from the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) among cattle.

Domestic poultry also enjoys the status of being free from the dreaded bird flu. 

Aside from Pabico, the other authors of the study are Marie Yvette B. de Robles, Renato S. Vega, Vianice Jasmine S. Olazo, Alyssa Kaye S. Mojar and Karen N. de la Cruz. 

The NPTS was conceived as a vital computer-based infrastructure to support the country’s preparation for the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) later this year. 

Pabico said NPTS exploits the current and planned ICT infrastructure in the Philippines and employs recent advances in digital-based data communication. 

“With the NPTS, the swine industry in the Philippines is posed to lead AFTA in meat-based export product quality, not only because it is the only foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)- and avian flu-free country in the region, but also because the NPTS was designed to be responsive to international standards,” Pabico argued. 

The NPTS will allow foreign consumers to trace the sources of meat cuts they bought through Internet-connected communication devices which provides them assurance that the product is safe and of high quality, he added. 

Filipino consumers will be given verifiable information that the meat cuts they bought came from a Filipino farm, minimizing the sale of mislabeled and smuggled meat cuts of questionable quality. 

Pabico, a professor at the Institute of Computer Science of UPLB, has been engaged in collaborative research that involve developing robust scheduling and load balancing algorithms for high-performance computing, applying computational intelligence heuristics to optimize various engineering systems, and developing advanced intelligent systems for automating agricultural and food production processes and monitoring environmental quality. 

He has authored 30 scientific articles published in refereed archival publications and about 80 technical papers published in peer-reviewed conference proceedings. 

In 2008, Pabico was awarded as one of the country’s Ten Outstanding Young Scientists of the Philippines.