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City to up oversight of ice manufacturers

Update: July, 23/2015 - 09:52
An ice production facility in Thu Duc District, HCM CIty. The city Food Safety and Hygiene Division plans to conduct more inspections at ice manufacturing facilities, particularly those that use well water. — Photo laodong.com.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City Food Safety and Hygiene Division plans to conduct more inspections at ice manufacturing facilities, particularly those that use well water.

More than 54 per cent of 22 tested samples of ice were found to be contaminated with bacteria and had a high chloride concentration.

Speaking at a workshop in HCM City yesterday, Le Thai Hoa, the division's head, said that substandard ice-making facilities would be forced to shut down and that fines would be strictly enforced.

Restaurants must buy ice from facilities with a certificate of product quality, he added.

Manufacturers should also transport ice by using heat-insulating devices instead of woven polypropylene (PE) bags, he said.

Hoa also required that 114 ice manufacturing facilities should use tap water supplied by Sai Gon Water Corporation (SAWACO) in order to ensure quality, Hoa said.

A water filter should be used to clean water taken from wells.

Nguyen Thi Huynh Mai, the division's deputy head, said the quality of tap water was controlled according to technical regulations issued by the Ministry of Health.

As many as 56 per cent of 114 facilities have not tested the quality of used well water, Mai said.

The city's need for ice is 500 tonnes a day, supplied by 193 facilities.

In the first six months of the year, as many as 25.6 per cent of 193 facilities did not have a certificate of food safety and hygiene.

Many small manufacturing facilities use well water and treat it via a variety of processes to ensure quality.

Because of the high price of tap water, at VND20,500(US$0.9) per cubic metre, the manufacturers prefer to use well water.

These companies have petitioned the Government to have preferential water prices.

The companies have said that packaging equipment for rectangular-shaped ice blocks of 50-60 kilos was too expensive. This packaging is required under the packing regulation issued in 2010.

Packing the blocks with polyethylene (PE) bags by hand is difficult because of the material's slippery nature, they said.

Nguyen The Trung of Trung Loi Ice Manufacturing Co. Ltd said the price of PE bags was too high, raising the cost of ice. — VNS

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