News 212 views last update:7 Aug 2012

Vietnam officials call for better food control

To ensure consumer safety, Vietnamese authorities need to improve the monitoring of agri and food companies, said Nguyen Van Tung of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The comments follow a report and discussions on work carried out during the recent Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) action month (January till February 2007). The work identified urgent issues that needed to be addressed. Deputy head of the ministry's Department of Science and Technology, Le Van Bam, said that besides enhancing dissemination to raise awareness on agricultural safety, relevant agencies had tightened inspection of agricultural materials and food processing.

Bad quality animal feed
During the month-long campaign, 194 out of the total 1,493 businesses selling chemicals used to protect plants, fertiliser, animal feed and animal medicine were found to have made violations. Most violations included businesses operating without licenses or using low-quality and out-of-date materials. Inspection of 67 animal feed processing units in the three provinces of Ha Tay, Ben Tre and Ca Mau, resulted in eight businesses having to re-produce their products after violations were discovered. Half of 38 animal feed samples tested in Dong Thap Province were found not to meet quality standards.

Solutions discussed
Deputy director of Hai Phong Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Van Tung called on authorities to focus more attention on enterprises which produce and sell agricultural materials. "When farmers have clean materials, they will produce clean agricultural products," said Tung. "The State should invest and equip localities to have capacity to analyse material samples and agricultural products quickly and correctly," he added.

Head of the Department of Food Hygiene and Safety, under the Ministry of Health, Tran Dang, suggested shifting more responsibility in the area to consumers by labelling safe products during the processing stage. "Products should be checked at farms by producers so that when they are on consumers' dining tables, they are still fresh and clean," he said. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, said the action month would be a regular and key task for the sector. It would be implemented synchronously and thoroughly in the coming time, he said.

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