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Agro-produce safety emphasised

Update: July, 15/2014 - 09:17
HA NOI  (VNS) — Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, yesterday, urged stricter measures against manufacturers of low quality agricultural products.

At yesterday afternoon's online conference held to discuss the management of agricultural and seafood products and food safety, Phat demanded the revoking of licences of violators and making information about them public.

"We cannot let anyone profit by harming people," he said.

He stressed the fact that the legal base for punishment has always been in place, implying that there was no excuse for not imposing punishment.

He suggested to local authorities that they consider ranking product quality from A to C (A meaning meeting standards, B meaning average and C meaning substandard and possibly dangerous) on packages to allow people to know and make their own choices.

He asked local authorities to focus on busting the trade in substandard and fake goods, especially the circulation of fake plant protection chemicals in the last few months of the year.

Nguyen Ngoc The, Director of the Ministry of Public Security's Department of Rural and Agricultural Security concurred with the minister.

He said central and local governments needed to focus their resources on dealing with food safety violations, stressing on the need to involve people in this work for it to make a difference.

"Only when people have the confidence to report to the local government about violations will things change," The said.

"Poor quality plant protection chemicals will not only affect the health of the people but also the future and the wellbeing of the country."

Phat agreed, saying that the government did not have a policy yet to encourage people's involvement in preventing bad agricultural products from coming into the market.

Nguyen Van Dong, Director of the Agriculture Department of the southern province of Hau Giang, said that the current punishment towards violators had not been strict enough.

He said if a manufacturer committed three violations, his operation licence should be revoked.

A representative from the agricultural department of the northern Hung Yen Province, said the authorities needed to expand their inspection to non-licenced manufacturers who are now rampant in certain localities.

According to Nguyen Nhu Tiep, Director of the Department for Agricultural and Seafood Products Quality Management, so far this year, more than 14,300 manufacturers of food products have been inspected. Of those, over 1,584, or 11.6 per cent, have been found to have violated safety regulations.

The number of violators in the manufacturing sector and those trading agricultural materials is even higher, with nearly 22 per cent (more than 800 out of 3,750 inspected).

The agriculture ministry said that in the near future, it would submit a report on smuggling prevention, with a focus on work against the smuggling of plant protection chemicals to the Prime Minister's office, the Minister of Public Security and Minister of Trade and Industry. — VNS


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