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Japan Finds Banned Substances in Vietnamese Rice
09 | 07 | 2007
Vietnam has received a notice from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare that its customs agencies had found evidence of violations of Japanese laws on food hygiene in Vietnamese rice, according to the Ministry of Trade.
Two consignments of 300,000 kg of Vietnamese rice have been discovered as containing high contents of acetarmiprid (0.03 ppm), three-fold higher than the allowed level. The two consignments were carried by Stella Cosmo ships, docking at Japanese ports on May 1, 2007 after leaving Vietnam’s ports on April 22, 2007.
 
The two consignments are being held at a Japanese port for examination as requested by Japanese authorities. The consignments were shipped to Japan to fulfill the contract on providing 30,000 tons of rice to the Japanese Government.
 
It remains unclear about the source of the two consignments. Nguyen Thi Nguyet, Secretary General of the Vietnam Food Association (Vietfood), said that Vietfood had received payment for the consignments and the clients had not made any complaints about the products.
 
According to Nguyet, Vietnamese rice exporters understand that Japan is a difficult-to- please market, and thus they examine exports very carefully before shipping.
 
She said the rice samples were not only examined in Vietnam, but sent to Thailand and Japan for examination as well.
 
Nguyet added that Japanese authorities had asked for Vietnam’s cooperation to track down the origin of the rice. The discovery of acetarmiprid in a high concentration in Vietnamese rice will badly affect the export of rice, a main export item.
 
The Ministry of Trade has called on suppliers and exporters to take drastic measures to prevent exports of products containing prohibited substances.
 
Examining 100 per cent of rice consignments before granting customs clearance may be the strictest measure Japan will apply. If so, Vietnamese companies will incur big losses as it will take time and expenses for the examination. The 100 per cent examination scheme is being applied for seafood exports, and the seafood lesson must not be repeated with rice exports.
 
Japan is one of the biggest export markets for Vietnam. Most of the rice exported to Japan is under the contracts Vietnam wins at the bids for rice provisions held by the Government of Japan every year.

Vietnam has so far won deals to export 45,000 tons to Japanese since the beginning of this year. Last year, the country reportedly shipped 120,000 tons to the market, up from only 80,000 tons in 2005.



(Vietnam Economic Times)
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