HA NOI — Viet Nam would take tough measures against violators of food safety law, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said at a meeting for agricultural materials, agro-forestry and fishery products in the capital city yesterday.
According to statistics from the Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD), there are 1,523 slaughterhouses in 21 out of the 63 cities and provinces, yet 55 per cent do not meet veterinary hygiene standards.
Deputy director of the Animal Health Department Pham Van Dong said good hygiene practising slaughterhouses should be mentioned to localities from the central province of Thua Thien-Hue to HCM City.
"In northern provinces, particularly Ha Noi, there are big problems with hygiene in slaughterhouses," said Dong.
Speaking at the meeting, Phat asked functional agencies to focus more on food safety inspection, particularly supply chains, in line with the Law on Food Safety.
"It is not only to conduct inspection missions or detecting units violating the law, that's only one-third of the process. What's more important is to reduce the number of slaughterhouses violating the food safety law," said Phat.
In addition to making sure slaughterhouses comply with the food safety law, the NAFIQAD asked the Ha Noi Plant Protection Sub-Department to co-ordinate with relevant agencies to conduct a pilot assurance model on vegetable supply chains in the city with an objective to prevent the overuse of hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
200 outlets illegally selling pigs, poultry
The illegal sale of poultry and pigs that are not quarantined under regulations is rampant HCM city, according to local officials.
The Animal Health division, which is under the HCM City's Veterinary Department, estimates there are more than 200 places that are illegally selling live fowls and livestock in the city, but also cautions the actual number could be a lot higher.
Districts 5, 12, Go Vap and Binh Chanh are hotspots for the illegal sales of unquarantined poultry and pigs, the division says.
HCM City currently has four quarantine stations in Thu Duc, An Lac, Hoc Mon and Xuan Hiep districts, but these cannot accommodate all the unquarantined poultry and pigs being sold in the city, according to local authorities.
Khuong Tran Phuc Nguyen, head of the Binh Chanh Animal Health Station, said those who sold unquarantined poultry and pigs were fined, but many still continued to violate the regulations.
According to the Animal Health Division, agencies discover about 200 cases of illegal sales of poultry and pigs every week.
The HCM City Market Watch Department said that it has so far this year discovered many cases of illegal sale of poultry and pigs, including 8,793 birds, chickens and ducks; 63 pigs; 5,196kg of pork and poultry; and 38,111 poultry eggs.— VNS