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Ministry targets use of banned substances

Update: October, 21/2015 - 08:09
Authorities inspect a animal food company. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) urged authorised agencies to crack down on the use and trading of banned substances in animal husbandry. — VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) urged authorised agencies to crack down on the use and trading of banned substances in animal husbandry.

Despite increased efforts by relevant authorised agencies, the fight against food safety violators had not achieved any significant results compared with last year, officials said.

The numbers of breeders using banned substances in husbandry remained high over the last nine months, said Nguyen Nhu Tiep, director of the country's agro-forestry-fisheries quality assurance department.

"Using banned substances in animal husbandry should be considered a crime," said Minister of MARD Cao Duc Phat at an online conference with representative from 63 cities and provinces on Monday. "Relevant authorised agencies need to resolutely, strictly address the problem. It is unacceptable that individuals pose health risks to millions of people for their own benefit."

Phat urged cities and provinces to conduct regular inspections and deal with violators.

He said the country could only tackle the root of the problem by strictly punishing sellers of banned substances, not just small-scale breeders.

He also asked the Ministry of Health to tighten its control over the import of Clenbuterol and Salbutamol, as enterprises are allowed to use these banned substances in medication production.

Some enterprises were found selling these banned substances to breeders. Clenbuterol and Salbutamol are used in husbandry to stimulate growth of animals. These substances have been banned in Viet Nam since 2002.

Sharing Phat's opinion, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam told the conference that violators must be strictly fined and should be prosecuted as criminals if they violate the regulations a second time.

He called on the participation of other agencies, such as the Viet Nam Farmers' Association and Viet Nam Women's Union to raise consumers' awareness about health risks posed by the use of banned substances.

He also asked MARD to make a detailed plan, and instruct cities and provinces on how to deal with the problem.

Representatives from the Ha Noi and HCM City People's Committees said they stepped up inspections and conducted regular tests to improve food quality control. They also co-ordinated with other cities to establish a chain of safe, clean vegetable and animal breeding farms.

However, due to high demand, the two cities have had to rely on supplies from other provinces. This makes it more difficult for the authorities to control the quality of agricultural products.

Moreover, the smuggling of banned substances through the northern provinces of Lang Son and Lao Cai remains complicated due to the long border lines of the two provinces with China. — VNS

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