News 339 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Update: Melamine check eased in Vietnam

The agricultural authorities have eased the compulsory melamine check for animal-feed and raw-material imports after importers complained it caused costly delays.

The Department of Husbandry earlier this week asked customs to allow importers to take delivery of their shipments immediately after samples are taken for testing.

Importers had to wait 10-15 days until the samples were tested before they could get their shipments ever since the melamine-tainted milk scandal broke out in China last year. The department has also asked customs officers to check only eight items that are at high risk of melamine contamination instead of all products as was being done earlier. But businesses still have to wait for the test results to come before using or selling the products, the department warned.

Nguyen Xuan Duong, its deputy director, said it would take importers at most three days to get their consignments now. Businesses complained that the delays had worsened in the last month after they increased imports to take advantage of falling global prices. Le Ba Lich, the chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feed Association, said "mountains" of feed and feed materials are stuck at Hai Phong Port pending test results.

Nguyen Huu Loi, director of Vic Company, said his company still has 4,000 tons of materials at the port. Lich said the delays cost US$100 a day per container, adding that port authorities could also fine businesses $5,000-10,000 daily for it.

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