Food Safety Checks Stepped up in Hanoi

VIET NAM - The municipal authority in Hanoi is to step up its monitoring of livestock and poultry transportation, slaughter and production in the capital until the end of the month.
calendar icon 21 July 2009
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According to an official source, Nguyen Huy Tuong, vice chairman of the Ha Noi People's Committee, said the inspections were to ensure food safety. He reassured traders that officers would not obstruct their business activities.

According to Nguyen Hong Bao, deputy head of the city's Market Watch Department, four inspection groups from the Market Watch Department, the Environment Police Office, the Traffic Police Office and the Ha Noi Animal Health Department had already been formed.

"Besides checking business licences and food safety and hygiene certificates, we will observe if businesses obey regulations on environmental sanitation and waste water treatment," Bao said.

"Transport companies will be watched to ensure they properly carry poultry and beef in boxes to ensure food safety and hygiene," he added.

Mr Bao reported that the examination would be conducted during rush hours – 02:00 to 05:00 and 13:30 to 15:00, everyday.

"We will apply fines of up to 30 million dong (VND; US$1,600) according to Government Decree 06/2008/ND-CP for administrative violations in trading activities," he said.

"Organisations and individuals guilty of serious violations might have their business licences withdrawn based on Decision 51/2009/QD-UB issued by the Ha Noi People's Committee," he added.

However, Mr Bao said administrative details still needed to be worked out. "We don't even know which agency will be in charge if illicit poultry and cattle are found and need to be disposed of," he said.

"In order to resolve these shortcomings, the inter-sectoral inspection groups will receive handling procedures from the Market Watch Department," Mr Bao said. "Besides, we are proposing that the municipal People's Committee give the inspection groups more authority."

On food safety and hygiene, the Ministry of Health recently established an inspection group to investigate and punish businesses in northern border provinces that violate regulations.

Inspections will be conducted in co-ordination with the ministries of Industry and Trade, Public Security, Agriculture and Rural Development and local health departments, according to the Ministry of Health.

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