Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – The Ministry of Health will conduct a complete inspection of two major fish sauce manufacturers, Masan Food and Khải Hoàn JSC, soon after the Lunar New Year Festival.
Deputy chief inspector Nguyễn Văn Nhiên said the inspection would likely take place as scheduled between January 28 and February 4.
The move followed consumers’ complaints over the quality of fish sauces sold at local markets, including unclear product names which fail to distinguish between fish sauce and other dipping sauces, quality of additives and materials.
Masan Food and Khải Hoàn JSC are among the largest fish sauce manufacturers in Việt Nam. Masan Food is a popular trademark with its Chinsu and Nam Ngư brands, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of the market share.
Khải Hoàn JSC is well-known for products made from traditional methods, such as the Ông Kỳ and Khải Hoàn brands.
Last October, Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association (Vinastas) announced its test results on fish sauce samples from 88 local businesses, which discovered nearly 85 per cent of the samples has “total arsenic content” above the permissible national limit.
The results were, however, misleading as arsenic in fish sauce is organic, present naturally in traditional fish sauce and causes no harm to humans. Only inorganic arsenic has a harmful effect if it is consumed by humans.
A Vinastas representative later issued an official statement, apologising to consumers, fish sauce producers, distributors and management agencies over its now-discredited and misleading reports on the toxicity in fish sauce.
As many as 50 media outlets were fined between VNĐ10 million (US$446) and VNĐ200 million ($8,929) for providing false information.
According to data from the General Statistics Office, Viêt Nam consumes some 200 million litres of fish sauce every year. Annual sales of fish sauce in the country are some VNĐ7.2-7.5 trillion ($320-333 million). – VNS