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PM orders agencies to step up food safety oversight

Update: December, 15/2014 - 08:36
Doctors rehearse taking care of employees with food poisoning at Nobland Viet Nam Company in HCM City. The Prime Minister has asked ministries to control the amount of chemicals in food products and origin labeling of foods to prevent food poisoning — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Vy

HCM CITY (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has instructed relevant agencies to improve food safety and hygiene across the board.

The Government website quoted him as saying they have to ensure harmful chemicals in agricultural products do not exceed prescribed limits and foods without origin are not sold in the market and prevent the food poisoning cases that keep occurring in industrial parks and export processing zones despite authorities' efforts.

He instructed the Ministry of Health to strengthen oversight of manufacturing, trading, and use of food additives.

It should work with the Ministry of Information and Communications to ensure advertising about food is accurate, especially supplements, and throw the book at violators.

The ministry should expand effective models of street-food safety and hygiene, and work with other authorities to improve monitoring of urban water quality.

He ordered the agriculture ministry to monitor agricultural, forestry and aquatic produce and ensure safe slaughter and transport of poultry.

Safe food chain models where the quality of essential items is controlled from the farm to the market should be expanded, he said.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade should improve oversight of manufacturing and distribution of alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and baby formula.

He called on local authorities to improve the functioning of food safety and hygiene agencies, those overseeing quality management of agricultural, forestry and aquatic products, and market management agencies.

Inspection and communication should be improved, he added.

On Saturday the Food Safety and Hygiene Department and HCM City's Department of Health held an emergency response drill to food poisoning.

Organised at the Tan Thoi Hiep Industrial Park in outlying District 12, it involved 200 ‘victims'.

It was the second this year following an earlier one in the Red River Delta province of Nam Dinh in October.

Nguyen Hung Long, the department's deputy head, said such rehearsals are vital for improving the capacity of relevant agencies and company managers in dealing with food poisoning.

Every year 11-25 cases occur at industrial parks and export processing zones with an average of 1,400 workers taking ill, according to the department. — VNS

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