PH seen to export more seaweed-derived products to US
Philippine seaweed products will continue to make headway in the markets of the United States, as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that carrageenan, a naturally occurring seaweed-derived substance, will remain in their list of approved additives in organic food, a statement showed.
The announcement was made in the 2018 Sunset Review of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) which found merit in public comments supporting the renewal of carrageenan in the National List of Allowed Substances of the USDA.
The comments, which were formed in part by two science-based position papers sent by the Philippine government through the Department of Agriculture to the USDA, refuted the health and environment-related assertions made by the National Organic Coalition (NOC) against carrageenan and argued for the substance as an irreplaceable, allowable ingredient.
Using the best available scientific information, the papers served detailed explanation to NOC, justifying that the coalition’s claims are based on inconclusive scientific arguments and are mere extrapolations of findings derived from flawed research and misinformed perceptions of the state of seaweed production in the country.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that the position papers, a joint effort between scientists from the University of the Philippines (UP) and the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), have convincingly addressed the issues raised by the coalition.
As of now, the Philippines remains as the top exporter of carrageenan to the United States with over 28.1 million dollars’ worth of exports in 2017, according to the USDA-Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS).