The chairperson and vice chairperson of district and commune level People’s Committees in Hà Nội have been ordered to conduct weekly food hygiene and safety inspections. — Photo doanhnghiepvn.vn
HÀ NỘI — The chairperson and vice chairperson of district and commune level People’s Committees in Hà Nội have been ordered to conduct weekly food hygiene and safety inspections.
“It is unacceptable if you only sit at your desk and direct others to make sure food is hygienic and safe,” said vice chairman of the Hà Nội People’s Committee, Nguyễn Văn Sửu at a meeting on Thursday.
The meeting was organised to assess activities to ensure food hygiene and safety in the city during the first eight months of this year.
At the meeting, Nguyễn Khắc Hiền, director of the city’s Health Department, said more than 12,000 violations of food hygiene and safety were recorded in the first eight months of this year. The fines received from violators added up to VNĐ22 billion (US$986,000).
Hiền said controlling the quality of vegetables and fruit in traditional markets was still proving difficult. In addition, a high risk of food poisoning caused by unhygienic and unsafe food at canteens still existed.
A representative from the city’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said canteens in several companies and schools were discovered to buy meat, vegetables and fruit from wholesale markets instead of co-operatives that supply safe foods. This was because of the higher prices if they bought food from co-operatives, he said.
After hearing reports from representatives of authorised agencies, Sửu asked every commune to assign one staff member to take responsibility for issues related to food hygiene and safety.
Ensuring food hygiene and safety was very important, as it relates to people’s heath and to our nation’s future generations, he said.
Sửu required all local schools to buy safe food for their canteens. Principals would take personal responsibility if any cases of poisoning occurred.
In a related move, the Ministry of Health officially introduced its hotline to receive comments on food hygiene and safety violations across the country on Thursday.
If anyone has a complaint about food hygiene or safety they can contact the hotline on 043 2321 556 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hotline is part of an attempt by the national health sector to fix issues related to food hygiene and safety. The issue is a hot topic that many people are very concerned about.
Nguyễn Thanh Phong, head of the Việt Nam Food Administration – the agency assigned to receive and deal with complaints about food hygiene and safety – said the agency would work hard to identify and deal with violators.
Statistics from the ministry showed that over 2,900 people suffered from food poisoning nation-wide with eight fatal cases in the first eight months of this year. — VNS