Heavier penalties proposed for food safety violations
HCMC – The Ministry of Health has asked other relevant ministries to join forces to inspect and impose stricter sanctions on food safety infringements, said Nguyen Thanh Phong, director of the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) at the Ministry of Health.
Phong told the Daily that the ministry is amending Government Decree 38 guiding the implementation of the Law on Food Safety and proposing adjusting Government Decree 178 on financial penalties against violations of food safety regulations.
The HCMC government has informed the Prime Minister of results of the implementation of Directive 13/2016 on tightening of food safety management in the city in the first nine months of 2017.
According to data of the HCMC Food Safety Board, agencies in the city inspected 31,450 individuals and organizations producing food and providing food safety services and detected 9,420 violation cases.
Authorities imposed fines totaling VND12.5 billion on 3,083 cases, culled some 13,640 cattle and poultry, got rid of more than 9.6 tons of meat and over 14 tons of vegetables in the period. More than 28% of the samples taken from farms and food and foodstuff production, processing and distribution companies failed to meet the food safety and hygiene standards.
HCMC is the first in the country to establish the food safety board, develop a safe food chain, and track the origin of pork and vegetables. However, city authorities said it is tough to control food quality as sanctions on vendors of contaminated produce and fresh food at wholesale markets are not strict enough.
The city has to import large volumes of food and foodstuffs from other provinces as agricultural products produced in the city can now meet 20-30% of local demand. Vegetables can satisfy only 30% of the city’s needs, meat 10% and seafood 15-20%, according to the HCMC Food Safety Board.
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