Authorities up market checks on food
HA NOI (VNS)A new regulation from the Ministry of Health requires all foodstuff products to be packaged and stored in a place at least 20cm from the floor, 30cm from the wall and 50cm from the ceiling.
|An inspection group from the local Department of Health and police examine the safety and hygiene of food products for the Mid-Autumn festival in Dong Ha Market in Quang Tri Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau
The requirement is among several new regulations for foodstuff manufacturers and dealers listed in a recent circular from the ministry in an effort to deal with rampant violation of food safety norms nation-wide.
According to the regulations, food packaging must also be durable and not be contaminated with hazardous waste or toxic substances that would be harmful to consumers' health.
For foodstuff manufacturers, the health ministry requests manufacturing areas to be located in places that are safe from flooding, pests such as insects and far away from other source of contamination.
Tran Quang Trung, head of the Viet Nam Food Administration, said the circular broke new ground in that the requirements did not only set the standards for infrastructure, utilities and the surrounding environment on the manufacturing and trading sides, but also introduced criteria for ingredients and additives used to produce food.
In addition, managers and workers at foodstuff manufacturing sites must receive certificate-granted training on food safety and must conduct health check-ups in advance.
However, the circular does not state who will be responsible for organising the mandatory training and certification.
Trung said the circular was compiled based on a thorough review of the practical situation on the ground, and once in affects after November 1, his agency would keep track of work in the area to make any necessary adjustments.
New safety measures
Many provinces and cities have strengthened inspections to ensure food safety and hygiene during the Mid-Autumn festival.
The interdisciplinary Steering Committee on food hygiene and safety in northern Hoa Binh Province has been carrying out repeated inspections of food, beverage and wine production facilities, especially for items consumed during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival.
The inspections cover product labels, additives, production and preservation process, source of raw materials, receipts, packaging, as well as pricing and promotion campaigns. Provincial authorities have said they would also check the quality of children's toys.
In the central city of Da Nang, the local Food Hygiene and Safety Department has discovered five mooncake production facilities that were violating regulations. Violations included processing areas located near toilets, workers not using gloves and masks, and wrong specifications on packages.
The city has set up 66 inspection teams to check production facilities and trading establishments. The inspections will run until October 10.
Similarly, the interdisciplinary Steering Committee on food hygiene and safety in southern Soc Trang Province has also inspected production facilities, trading establishments and even street food outlets.
Authorities in the province are paying particular attention to jams, confectionary, bottled drinks and soft drinks. The inspection time is divided into two phases (Phase1: Sept 17-28 and phase 2: October 1-5).
Soc Trang has about 40 production and trading facilities. Enterprises in the province plan to produce more than 4,000 tonnes of various goods to the market for this year's Mid-Autumn Festival, an increase of more than 20 per cent over 2011. — VNS