|Ha Noi food safety inspectors examine imported products in a local supermarket. Viet Nam has increased controls over imported farm goods to improve quality. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS) — Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat has called for stricter control over imports of farm produce, particularly their origin, to ensure all the goods meet food safety standards.
Concerning the quality of local farm produce, the minister instructed relevant agencies to adopt drastic measures to ensure food safety and hygiene at all stages.
He noted at an online workshop on the quality of agro-forestry and fisheries products yesterday that it was essential to praise those who conformed with regulations while punishing those who did not do so.
Food safety and hygiene awareness among officials as well as farmers remained low while related regulations were not effective enough to stop violations.
In 2012, agriculture and rural development departments in 46 localities discovered 961 units violating regulations, accounting for 18.7 per cent of the 12,000 trade and production sites inspected.
Inspectors found that 6.8 per cent of samples inspected contained unacceptably high levels of pesticide.
The ministry decided to punish more than 5,900 cases of violations last year with total fines of more than VND10 billion (US$476,000).
Most violations concerned the use of banned substances in cattle-feed and failing to provide a clean environment for aquaculture.
The ministry targeted to cut the contamination rate of plant-origin products by 10 per cent this year in comparison with 2012, Phat said. — VNS