On August 4, Thuận An City's veterinary department and economic police unit inspected a warehouse for rent on Nguyễn Trãi Street, discovering more than 19 tonnes of frozen animal products that were of unknown origin and already spoilt, worth some VNĐ500 million. VNA/VNS Photo
Nguyễn Đức Lê, Deputy Director of the Market Surveillance, under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, talks to Công Thương (Trade and Industry) newspaper about Việt Nam's strict regulations on food safety in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
What are the challenges market watch forces have faced in their work to ensure food safety mission?
Under instructions from the 389 National Steering Committee on Food Safety, we have worked closely with agencies to achieve the goal of keeping food safety for consumers.
We have worked closely with the market watch forces to conduct regular checks and promptly handle trade fraud and smuggling. We have also organised many food safety inspections, including of food supplements.
On April 15, we launched a food safety campaign for the year. By now the market watch forces nationwide have conducted 2,644 food safety inspections and given administrative sanctions in almost 1,400 cases. During a three-day mission, the market forces in the northern province of Hải Dương detected 72 tonnes of animal intestines that were already going bad, along with additives, chemicals, and other items that didn't have clear origins, the total value of which came to about VNĐ1.1 billion (US$47,600).
In HCM City, the market watch forces on May 5 also seized 459 boxes of Heineken beer containing more than 12,500 cans/bottles worth more than VNĐ365 million without invoices or proof of origin.
Can you tell us about some of the notable achievements of the market watch forces?
Keeping food safety is a very important mission for the market watch forces, particularly in the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have accomplished the assignment to the best of our abilities.
We have worked closely with concerned agencies during our missions. We have also conducted many activities to raise people’s awareness of the importance of following the food safety law.
Since the start of the food safety campaign on April 15, we have conducted almost 5,700 missions and given sanctions in almost 3,600 cases violating the food safety law. The total fine was VNĐ9.3 billion.
In the context of the pandemic, what measures has the Việt Nam Directorate of Market Surveillance developed to win in the battle to keep food safety?
We have sent instructions to all market management units nationwide to follow the food safety instructions from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Prime Minister's Directive No.17/CT-TTg which was issued on April 13.
With instructions from Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, we have regularly conducted inspection missions to food companies to ensure they follow the regulations on food safety in their daily activities.
We have also launched many communication campaigns on the Vietnamese Law on Food Safety to raise awareness for all organisations and individuals in the food industry.
We have also worked closely with them to listen to their comments or suggestions to make the law more complete in the future. — VNS