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Synchronous measures needed to ensure food hygiene and safety
30 | 11 | 2007
Relevant agencies should tighten management measures while mobilising all social resources in order to get to the root of burning issues related to ensuring food hygiene and safety.

The issue of food hygiene and safety is being put on the alert as many cases of food poisoning and foods containing toxins, which badly affect human health and public confidence have been detected over recent times. Meanwhile, many localities in the country are currently coping with acute diarrhoea.

At the second session of the 12th National Assembly (NA), the legislative body approved the Law on Product Quality and the Law on Chemicals.

Acute diarrhoea has been reported in provinces across the country but worthy of note is that the first case of acute diarrhoea was detected in Hanoi- the cultural and political centre of the whole country. This showed localities’ management of food hygiene and safety was very poor and loose. The Ministry of Health has warned all people, food processing units, supermarkets and restaurants to fully comply with regulations on food hygiene and safety. However, it is a question of why relevant agencies were so late in strictly controlling food hygiene and safety as the consequences became serious.

President of the Hanoi Club for Professional Cooks Truong Manh Dung said, “We pay special attention to ensuring food hygiene and safety and we have launched exchanges to share experiences in this regard. During the period of bird flu, we helped club members with how to use alternative materials while following the message “We should be responsible cooks, bringing high-quality products and ensuring social safety.”

Some food and foodstuff businesses just rush for profit and do not care about the community’s health and safety. People expressed their concerns that if Vietnam does not devise strict management and observation mechanisms and fines businesses will continue violating regulations on food hygiene and safety.

Vuong Thi Thang, former head of the food processing department of the Hanoi Tourism College said organizations, restaurants and businesses which violated regulations on food hygiene and safety have just only been fined lightly. Relevant authorities should heavily fine violating firms and withdraw their business licences. They should regularly conduct sudden inspections in order to avoid businesses finding ways to get around the laws.

Currently, food and foodstuffs on the markets are from rural areas. Therefore, it is very important to encourage farmers to produce safe products. There is a paradox that products which have registered trademarks and are of high quality but when they are supplied on the market customers do not know whether they are safe or not. Safe vegetables of some co-operatives cannot find stable output outlets as co-operatives have no contacts with supermarket systems so they are forced to distribute through vendors.

At a 2007 safe vegetables and agricultural products fair in Hanoi, Tran Duc Vinh, vice chairman of Yen My Co-operative said its products were recognized as safe by the Hanoi Plant Protection Department but it is very difficult for them to penetrate into supermarkets as the co-operative does not know how to make contact with them. Furthermore, the supply is not stable. Investing in safe vegetables need a lot of capital but it does not bring high profits.

With the current high economic growth rate, customer demand for safe food and foodstuffs in the future will greatly increase. Therefore relevant authorities must strictly implement measures to manage, supervise and check food hygiene and safety to avoid the serious consequences we see at present.


Source: agroviet.gov.vn
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