Some batches of export fruit temporarily suspended for contamination

September 12, 2023 - 10:37
The Plant Protection Department has been alerted by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) about the contamination in certain batches of fruits from Việt Nam.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Hương, deputy director of the Plant Protection Department.—Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Plant Protection Department has instructed certain areas to temporarily halt the export of specific fruits, following the discovery of contamination objects in batches of bananas, mangoes, jackfruit, durian, and dragon fruit from Việt Nam that were exported to China.

Nguyễn Thị Thu Hương, the deputy director of the Plant Protection Department within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, spoke to the local press during a virtual forum organised by the ministry on Monday.

The department had earlier been alerted by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) about the contamination in batches of the said fruits from Việt Nam.

Subsequently, the department advised relevant units to refrain from executing plant quarantine procedures for exports corresponding to the growing area codes and establishment codes identified.

Moreover, the department communicated with the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in Đồng Nai, Gia Lai, Đắk Lắk, Tây Ninh, Vĩnh Long, Long An, Bình Thuận, Tiền Giang, Bình Phước, Đồng Tháp, and Trà Vinh provinces. It also reached out to Plant Quarantine Divisions in these provinces to strengthen the monitoring of plant quarantine objects in cultivation zones and packaging facilities for fruits designated for the Chinese market.

For instances where a notice of violation is received for the first time, the department instructs localities to temporarily halt the use of the affected growing area codes. These localities must inform the code owners to implement corrective actions and temporarily cease export operations to China. The codes will only be reinstated once the growing regions and packaging facilities have taken the necessary corrective measures in line with the requirements set by the General Department of Customs of China.

In situations where multiple violations have been flagged, the department directs the localities to announce a temporary suspension and initiate procedures to rescind the offending codes. It's imperative for localities to promptly notify so that the proprietors of these growing area codes and packaging facilities abstain from export activities.

On September 9, numerous businesses shipping fruit to Cát Lái Port in HCM City were informed to put their export activities on hold. This was due to the suspension of their packaging facility codes, which breached plant protection guidelines. This sudden announcement took the businesses by surprise.

Hương elaborated that there were two mechanisms for suspension or revocation. Either the Việt Nam’s Plant Protection Department within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would take action to suspend and retrieve the commodities, or China would undertake this task.

From international market insights, Hương mentioned that if Việt Nam were to proactively suspend its exports, the rectification process would likely be more streamlined.

If the initiative were taken by the Chinese authorities, the rectification process would be contingent on their schedule, which might entail prolonged waiting, Hương highlighted.

Hence, the Plant Protection Department opted for a proactive approach in suspending exports, she explained.

Furthermore, Hương emphasised that, although exports were inspected in Việt Nam, the shipments would be subjected to another round of checks upon their arrival in China. If residues like soil or leaves are identified in a consignment, specific measures would be undertaken.

A prevalent method employed was fumigation at the entry border gate. Such procedures would lead to extra expenses for Vietnamese enterprises, she pointed out.

“At present, the regulatory approach in Việt Nam revolves around stringent management. In cases of non-compliance, codes might be suspended or rescinded for not maintaining the required standards,” Hương said.

Consequently, the ministry was putting forth a proposal to the Government to sanction the drafting of two additional decrees: one outlining the procedure for issuing growing area codes and packaging facility certifications and another stipulating penalties within this sector, she informed.— VNS