July 21, 2024

The city council has approved Ordinance 65, s. 2023 or the “Fish and Fishery Products Inspection Ordinance of Baguio” for the safety and protection of consumers against health hazards, deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable sales acts and practices.
The ordinance governs the daily inspection on the entry, handling and sale of fresh, frozen and processed fish and other fishery products in private and public wet markets in Baguio and creates the Fish Market Inspection and Monitoring Team to implement the ordinance.
Fishery products are frozen fish and processed or fish products that have been physically altered or cured, filleted, gutted, packaged, canned, frozen, smoked, salted, cooked, pickled, dried, or prepared for market.
Section 3 of the ordinance requires sellers of fish and fishery products entering the market to present an auxiliary invoice issued by local government units as evidence of transport from point of origin to the point of destination; and local transport permit (LTP) issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources authorizing the shipping of aquatic wildlife acquired from legal sources from the point of origin to destination.
Penalties for violation of Section 3 is confiscation of fishery products not declared on the LTP and P2,000 fine for first offense; confiscation and revocation of business permit and P5,000 fine for the second offense.
Section 4 provides that unloading must be at city-government designated bagsakan areas; products in boxes unloaded from the trucks shall be placed on platforms; sorting at the unloading area is prohibited, and no throwing of fish in banyera/crates/insulated chest coolers/Styro boxes during unloading to prevent damage.
Section 5 requires wholesale of fish and fishery products must be at the designated bagsakan or wholesale areas and retail of fish products shall only be done in individual stalls. Retail is prohibited at the bagsakan areas.
Section 6 also requires all fish post-harvest facilities such as processing plants, cold storages, and other fishery business establishments must have business permits; issued a license to operate by the Food and Drugs Administration; and conform to the minimum standards set by the BFAR, the FDA, and the city government.
Violation of these sections are punishable by confiscation of fish and fishery products and a P1,000 fine for first offense; and confiscation and revocation of business permit and a P5,000 fine for the second offense.
Section 7 provides that fish and other aquatic products on display and intended for human consumption shall maintain the required temperature for the frozen, chilled and fresh commodity as prescribed by the BFAR and the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office.
The general rules for handling fishery products include a health certificate from the City Health Services Office by persons and entities engaged in the handling, sale and distribution of fish at the wet markets.
Fish stalls must be made of stainless steel to prevent contamination. If made of a wooden table, fish products shall be contained in a stainless tray.
Fish and other fishery products shall be stored in freezers and chillers or should be kept cool in coolers or Styro boxes. The ratio of ice and fish is 1:1; The use of enhancing lights, mats and other materials (i.e. colored plastic wrap) to deceive the consumer is prohibited.
All fish and fishery products sold must be properly labeled as to the species. Mislabeled products shall be confiscated at the selling area. Stale products as well as those showing signs of spoilage shall be removed immediately from the sales area/store premises and disposed.
Scaling is prohibited at the market to prevent clogging of the drainage system.
Trays, banyeras, and other containers used in transporting fish and other aquatic products shall be washed with soap and clean water before and after use.
Fresh fish shall not be mixed with frozen and thawed fish. Fresh fish and other aquatic products shall be displayed chilled or kept in chillers and refrigerators, and chilled products shall maintain a temperature of four degrees Celsius or lower.
In the absence of refrigerated display chillers, the use of insulated chest coolers or similar devices is allowed provided the fish and fishery products are displayed over a bed of ice. Labeling frozen fish as fresh fish is prohibited.
Frozen fish must always be at a temperature of 0°degrees Celsius during its handling, storage, distribution and sale; frozen fish shall be sold from display freezers and/or chest freezers that maintain product temperature at 0°C; and safely thaw fish by placing it in a refrigerator or in a container with clean cold water which are the safest and ideal methods to preserve its freshness.
Fish shall never be thawed at room temperature to prevent spoilage. Thawed fish unsold at the end of selling time showing signs of spoilage shall be removed from the sales area.
Processed fish products shall be kept at a product temperature not higher than 0°C during their handling, storage, distribution and sale; Processed fish products shall be sold from display freezers and/or chillers that maintain product temperature not higher than 0°C; and all traditionally processed fish offered for sale in various markets and satellite markets that are either marinated, smoked, sun-dried, and/or salted, or fermented shall be properly packed and labeled.
Penalties for violating the above sections shall be punishable for first offense by confiscation of the colored mattings, food coloring, and the products, and P1,000 fine; and for second offense confiscation of the colored mattings, food coloring, the products, revocation of business permit, and a P5,000 fine.