Updated  
September, 23 2013 08:31:00

Seafood firms call for administrative reform

The Government should reduce administrative procedures related to food safety and quarantine of seafood export from and import into the country, delegates told a conference in HCM City last Saturday.— File Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — The Government should reduce administrative procedures related to food safety and quarantine of seafood export from and import into the country, delegates told a conference in HCM City last Saturday.

Vo Van Phuc, general director of the Viet Nam Clean Seafood Corporation, said food safety policies cost time and money for seafood exporters, reducing their competitiveness.

Others slammed the procedures for testing imported seafood, pointing out that importers had to register for quarantine at one place and then went to another for testing in addition to completing many procedures.

This took much time, sometimes up to 10 days, for their goods to be cleared, they said.

Vu Huy Quang of Sai Gon Food Company said most import consignments came with health certification (HC) from exporting countries, meaning they are safe, so testing them all over again was just a waste of time.

Authorities should therefore consider abolishing quarantining at ports or find another way to make it easier for businesses, he said.

Nguyen Thi Minh Tam, head of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) office, said apart from monitoring production at processing firms, authorities also tested export consignments to ensure food safety for issuing export licences.

The procedures took much time and affected export activities, she said.

Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP general secretary, said ensuring food safety right from the early stages would be more efficient than testing export consignments.

"Most seafood processing firms have good food safety control systems.

"We need to focus more on checking inputs to mitigate risks involved in food safety."

Government programmes to control farming areas and toxic substances had seen some early results, but they should focus more on educating farmers to be responsible, he said.

Participants called on the National Agro-Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance to upgrade its website to provide more information about food safety control and quarantine procedures to make it easier for firms.

Ngo Hai Phan, deputy chairman and general secretary of the Advisory Council for Administrative Procedures Reform, promised to pass on attendees' suggestions to the Government for consideration. — VNS

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