|Authorities inspect food trading at a shop in southern Vinh Long Province. Manufacturers found violating food safety regulations will face fines up to VND200 million (US$9,600) or revocation of their circulation permits. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Thi Binh
HA NOI (VNS) — The ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development and Industry and Trade will increase joint food safety inspections as Tet approaches, focusing on big cities and border provinces like Lang Son, Quang Ninh and Lao Cai, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said on Sunday.
"The number of food samples examined will be increased by 10 per cent compared to last year," Tien said while speaking to the audience on the weekly VTV programme "People ask, Ministers answer".
Manufacturers found violating food safety regulations will face fines up to VND200 million (US$9,600) or revocation of their circulation permits. Their names will also be publicised by the Ministry of Health.
The ministry submitted a plan to the Government this year that would establish food safety inspection teams at sub-district levels, including wards and communes.
"The Ministry believes that those measures will be effective in improving the food safety situation," Tien said.
Regarding the amended Law of Health Insurance, which will go into effect on January 1, the Minister said the new regulation of compulsory insurance was a "big political effort" towards the future target of universal health insurance coverage.
The new law also provides support for poor residents and ethnic minority groups in disadvantaged areas, as they will have all their medical fees covered by health insurance rather than only 95 per cent.
Meanwhile, near-poor households will have to pay only 5 per cent of the total fee, a fourfold decrease from the current law.
"Another important work of the Ministry was to improve the quality of medical services as well as the overloading problem at hospitals," Tien said.
The average waiting time for examinations at hospitals has decreased by 50 minutes while 150 medical officers were fined for bad behaviour after a national hotline was established this year. — VNS