|The Market Watch Department examines food products at Hoa Ba Supermarket in Dien Bien City. Inter-ministerial teams will conduct more inspections at food producers and trading centres to ensure food safety nationwide as Tet approaches — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (VNS) — The Viet Nam Food Administration (VAF) has called for more inspections to ensure food safety nationwide as Tet approaches.
"From now to the end of March, inter-ministerial inspection teams will visit food production and trading units of all levels, especially in big cities with high consumption and food processing villages and at border gates," said VAF deputy director Nguyen Thanh Phong.
Authorities will also focus on producers and distributors of goods that will be in particular demand during Tet, such as wine and beer, eggs, milk and fresh meat.
"The number of units to be inspected will increase by 10 per cent from the same period last year in the hope that we can reduce the number of food poisoning cases during Tet," Phong said. "Communication campaigns will disseminate information and regulations on food hygiene and safety, especially knowledge about food selection, preservation and cooking."
Wetness in the north and heat in the south were the major factors that affected food quality and safety during Tet, according to Phong.
As of December 15, Viet Nam reported 189 food poisoning cases this year, in which 4,119 people were hospitalised and 43 died.
There were 22 cases and 15 more fatalities than last year, while the number of hospitalised people declined by 901.
Food poisoning and fatalities were caused primarily by eating or drinking natural toxins in toad, globefish and sea snail and traditional wines containing strange tree roots. — VNS