|Workers check fish sauce containers at the Hong Dai Company, Duong Dong township, Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang province. The province plans to work with other authorities to prevent illegal use of the island's name for fish sauce. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HCM CITY (VNS) — The Kien Giang Province will work with other provinces and cities to prevent and control illegal use of the geographical indication "Phu Quoc" for fish sauce, the province's Department of Science and Technology has said.
At a workshop on Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for "Phu Quoc", Luong Thanh Hai, director of the department, said the product was the first in any ASEAN country to obtain PDO protection in 28 EU-member countries, and the first Vietnamese geographical indication to be recognised and protected in the EU.
The achievement was obtained with the technical support of the EU-MUTRAP project and Vietnamese ministries and agencies, he said.
With such protection, fish sauce (more specifically, "extract of fish") produced and bottled in Phu Quoc can be distributed under the Phu Quoc name, he said.
This recognition ensures its authenticity and prevents the illegal presence of counterfeit and pirated products, said Claudio Dordi, technical assistance team leader of the EU-MUTRAP project.
In addition, the protection will enable Vietnamese producers to enjoy higher prices in the European market, he said.
However, many fish sauce products branded with the name Phu Quoc are available in the market, and consumers cannot distinguish between the brands.
With the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the EU delegation to Viet Nam, the province has organised a Communication Week from July 15-22 to disseminate information about PDO management and use regulations, and to raise awareness among stakeholders about PDO, Hai said.
Dordi said that Phu Quoc fish sauce producers could face unfair competition from other producers who use the name illegally.
"The quality of the input, final products and procedures should be strictly monitored and everyone should comply with the regulations of the EU PDO registration," he said.
"Producers, distributors and all stakeholders must be more active, especially in new markets. You must be very careful to control and supervise the distribution market in the EU to discover whether there are products distributed in the EU using the name of Phu Quoc illegally," he continued.
"If you discover this, you must immediately contact the authority of the member state of the EU where the products are marketed," he said.
Regarding the domestic market, Hai said illegal users of the geographical indication "Phu Quoc" fish sauce in Viet Nam would be subject to punishment beginning next month.
According to Le Thi Tinh, chairwoman of the Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Producers' Association, 20-25 million liters of Phu Quoc fish sauce are produced a year, of which 10-12 per cent are exported to the EU.
At the workshop, fish sauce producers and distributors asked authorities to create favourable conditions for them in the domestic market to promote sales of legally branded PDO Phu Quoc fish sauce. — VNS