Food safety, hygiene shows improvement, but needs more measures

The prevention of food poisoning and food-borne diseases have been improved drastically and showed positive results based on the decrease on food poisoning cases in the first six months of this year, a conference heard on July 20.

food safety, hygiene shows improvement, but needs more measures hinh 0
The number of food poisoning cases nationwide is 53, a reduction of 27 cases compared to the same period last year. Eleven people died and around a thousand others were hospitalised this year, more than twice as many as 2017.

Speaking at the conference on implementing food safety and hygiene, Vice Minister of Health Le Thanh Long said inspections on food safety and hygiene have been carried out from central to local levels.

Reports from inspection teams from 63 cities and provinces showed that in the first 6 months of the year, the inspection teams discovered 68,362 out of 351,130 businesses violating food safety and hygiene regulation. Of that, 13,017 businesses were fined more than VND35 billion (US$1.54 million).

170 businesses had their licenses suspended, 300 businesses were required to add labelling, and 2,822 businesses had their products destroyed.

Reports from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development focused on inspecting food safety and hygiene, which contributed to the curb of using banned chemicals in livestock, minimised the abuse of chemicals and antibiotics, and reduced micro-bacterial contamination on products.

The national steering committee on food safety and hygiene said there were shortcomings in the inspection work on food safety and hygiene in many localities.

Penalties for violations on the abuse of plant protection chemicals and antibiotics in agricultural production, as well as the use of food additives in food processing, remained low.

Food without clear origin was not controlled and is available for purchase in markets. Fraud on producing and trading supplementary food online was still complicated, it said.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said it was vital for the country’s health authority to enhance the post-inspection work on food safety and hygiene to better control food quality.

The ministry would complete the amended decree on giving fines for food safety and hygiene violators based on the current Decree 178/2013/NĐ-CP issued in 2013.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam required relevant ministries and agencies to complete the amended decree stipulating sanctions for violations and submitted it to the Government for approval. Of that, the process of culling violated livestock and substandard products, advertising on supplement foods and cosmetics should be in the focus.

He said raising awareness of food safety and hygiene should continue to be promoted. Sound practices in food safety and hygiene management in big cities like Hanoi and HCM City should be replicated.

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