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Crackdown on food safety

Update: June, 22/2012 - 10:05

HCM CITY — HCM City should improve food safety and hygiene at all stages of the production cycle from farming to distribution, the head of the People's Council's Cultural and Social Affairs Board has said.

At a meeting between the council and the Department of Health on Wednesday, Huynh Cong Hung said he did not yet feel assured about the food safety and hygiene in the city.

Food contaminated by micro-organisms continued to be sold, while the sale of chemicals used as additives was not brought under control, he said.

For the sake of profits, manufacturers, especially small ones, and vendors were ready to flout safety and hygiene regulations, but Government agencies did not punish them severely enough, he said.

Huynh Le Thai Hoa, head of the city Food Safety and Hygiene Division, said his division faced many challenges.

Agricultural products from other provinces accounted for 80 per cent of those sold in the city, making it difficult to trace their origins, he said.

Violation of safety and hygiene norms remained widespread, he said, with 202 out of 326 food manufacturing and trading facilities inspected in the first six months guilty of it.

The Market Management Department carried out a further 4,200 inspections, discovering 1,800 other violations and seizing 300 tonnes of pork, chicken, eggs, cake, candy, jam, and other foods.

The city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development took food samples from three wholesale markets for testing, and found most meeting quality standards.

But, explained Thi Thi Nhung, Hung's deputy, while food sold in wholesale markets met safety and hygiene norms, they deteriorated after being bought and processed by small facilities, which lacked adequate facilities.

Nguyen Tan Binh, head of the health department, said his agency would take great care while issuing food safety and hygiene certificates to kitchens and canteens at schools and industrial parks. — VNS

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