|Assoc. Prof. Phạm Khánh Phong Lan, head of the HCM Food Safety Management Board, speaks at a conference on Friday (July 15) to review the six years of its operation. VNA/VNS Photo Đinh Hằng
HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Committee has proposed that the Government upgrade the city’s Food Safety Management Board into a department six years after its establishment to enable the board to perform its tasks optimally.
HCM City was the first locality in the country to set up the board in 2016, said Assoc. Prof. Phạm Khánh Phong Lan, head of the board.
Although it has been operating on a pilot basis, the board has been performing well its tasks assigned by the city's People’s Committee on food safety management in the city, Lan said at a conference on Friday to review the six years of its operation.
Food safety inspection, surveillance and testing have been strengthened while stringent penalties have been imposed to control food safety hazards and prevent food safety incidents in the city, she said.
Food safety chains have been increasingly expanded in the city to supply safe food to the city's markets, she said.
However, food safety management remains a challenging task and there is a high risk of potential food safety incidents due to a growing number of small food producers and traders, high use of agricultural inputs such as antibiotics, pesticides and chemical fertilisers and overlapping roles of three departments - health, industry and trade, and agricultural and rural development - she said.
Twelve food poisoning cases have occurred in the city over the past six years, with 185 people getting poisoned and seven deaths.
During the period, teams of inspectors carried out inspections of 327,554 establishments around the city. Violations were discovered at 36,953 establishments. — VNS