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Food probe finds rampant violations

Update: June, 13/2013 - 10:09

HA NOI (VNS)— Inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development found violations in 17 workplace kitchens, supermarkets and food processing enterprise of 25 examined in nine provinces last month.

The proprietors were found guilty of failing to show food-safety certificates or food origin or processing food in unhygienic conditions, said deputy director of the Ministry's Quality Control Department Phung Huu Hao at a meeting to review food safety management on Tuesday.

In HCM City and southernmost Ca Mau Province, inspectors found nearly 40 violations at slaughterhouses, including the practice of injecting pork with water to add weight. The action not only reduces the quality of pork but also creates a high risk of bacterial infection.

The department also took samples from fish markets for testing in response to public concern about the toxicity of illegally-imported sturgeon. The result of tests on the fish samples will be made public soon.

Early last month, Ha Noi Police destroyed 1.8 tonnes of sturgeon illegally imported from China.

In Ha Noi's makets, it had been reported that imported sturgeon was being sold at VND110,000-190,000 (US$5-$9) per kilo while each kilo of domestic sturgeon was VND250,000-300,000 ($12-$15). The gap raised doubts over the quality of imported products.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said it was urgent to curb the illegal importing of sturgeon as it posed a high risk of fisheries disease and threatened the domestic sturgeon sector.

She also asked the ministry's Department of Animal Health to tighten inspections at two major airports of Noi Bai in the north and Tan Son Nhat in the south as sturgeon and sturgeon eggs were found to have been imported illegally by air.

"If importers can't show documents proving the origin of sturgeon, the products will be destroyed at once," she said.

Moreover, the Fishery Department would examine sturgeon farms in border provinces, she said, to help stop domestic growers importing cheap sturgeon to on-sell at a profit.

The ministry is planning to launch projects to improve the quality of farming products, the safe food supply chain, safe vegetable production and slaughterhouses in 11 Red River Delta provinces and four south eastern provinces. — VNS

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