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07/12/18: “Dirty” food needs to be controlled when Tết approaches

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Food safety control needs improving to stop “dirty” food during Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays.Food safety control needs improving to stop “dirty” food during Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays.

 

Even with the increase in penalties, it seems violations in the “dirty” food business, in Vietnam, were still increasing, said Nông Thôn Ngày Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.

Last month, the police of Thanh Hóa Province stopped a car and found several boxes containing 250kg of pig skins with a bad smell. The driver did not have any paperwork for the food which was seized and destroyed.

This was one of the hundreds of cases each day in several localities nationwide, said the paper.

According to the report by the National Steering Committee of Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Fake Goods Control, police in the northern province of Lạng Sơn which has border with China, for 10 months this year, discovered and seized 20 tonnes of illegally imported “dirty” food of pig fat, pig briskets, chicken and duck meat.

This increased 10 per cent compared to last year, the committee said.

Meanwhile, in southern Đồng Nai Province, as of this month, the authority has uncovered 60 cases of food safety violations including unsafe and unhygienic animal slaughter, trading and transporting unquarantined meats.

An official of Lạng Sơn Province’s Market Management Department said that “notably, most of ‘dirty’ food was animal viscera found in a decaying state.”

In some cases, the food had been transported to cities and came to restaurants and families’ tables causing health problems,” he said.

In October, the Food Safety Administration (Ministry of Health) issued VNĐ6 billion (US$259,000) in fines and revoked licences of hundreds of companies involving in serious violations, the paper reported.

One of the reasons why the violation in transport and trading of dirty food has not reduced was because punishments were seen as too lenient.

Right now, anyone caught handling bad food would have it confiscated and given fines, said an official of Lạng Sơn Province.

Prof. Dr Nguyễn Bá Đức, vice president of Việt Nam Cancer Association told the paper that dirty food and a polluted environment were the main causes of the rapid rise in the number of cancer cases in recent years.

To solve the problem, leaders of the Market Management Department (Ministry of Industry and Commerce) asked relevant offices to enhance inspection and control of seaports and border gates.

In the third quarter this year, Hà Nội’s authorities set up 725 teams to inspect food safety and hygiene performance in nearly 25,000 businesses involving in food-producing and trading. The teams found violations in more than 2,000 businesses and gave fines worth VNĐ9.5 billion (US$400,000).

By the end of this year, the city planned to foster food safety control in markets and supermarkets, especially in temporary small markets in all districts and communes.

Animal butchering would be tightly monitored and small-scale slaughterhouses would be gradually eliminated in the city, the paper said.

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