Viet Nam’s Rice Quality Guaranteed: Trade Ministry

Viet Nam’s rice is available in international markets and has strictly followed international standards for food quality and safety set by importers.

Viet Nam’s rice has always been of the highest quality and meets the most stringent requirements of difficult-to-please markets in terms of quality and food hygiene, said the Ministry of Trade in response to Russia’s halt on rice imports from Viet Nam.

The Ministry has asked the Russian trade representative office in Viet Nam to confirm and clarify statements that Viet Nam's rice exports to Russia contain residues of Clorpiriphos, an herbicide which may be harmful to human health, at higher-than- permitted levels.

The Ministry also stressed that Viet Nam has been a leading rice exporter in the world for many years with nearly 5 million tons exported in 2006 alone. Viet Nam’s rice has been available in many international markets and has strictly followed international standards for food quality and safety set by importers, including the EU, US, and Japan without ever having received any complaints from consumers in these markets.

In Japan, Viet Nam has signed contracts to export up to 100,000 tons of rice and so far has delivered 86% of that amount. To enter the Japanese market, rice exports must meet 267 criteria, Chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) Truong Thanh Phong explained.

Chairman of the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) Truong Thanh Phong

He said local exporters have always followed quality standards when exporting rice to Russia, despite the country not being a big market.

So far, Viet Nam has exported only 62,000 tons of rice to Russia this year and many Vietnamese suppliers, including the country’s largest rice exporter Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, are no longer exporting their product to Russia.

"This whole issue is unusual considering the quality levels that Viet Nam’s rice producers have acquired and in terms of their adherence to the appropriate use of fertilizers and pesticides," Mr. Phong said.

According to the VFA, some rice producers and traders in Russia may have spread a rumor regarding the poor quality of rice imports and then lobbied the powers to get a ban imposed.

The Ministry also asked the Vietnamese trade office in Russia to provide more information on rice shipments supposedly containing Chlorpyrifos, including the names of the Vietnamese exporters, the Russian importer and other related information.

Apart from Viet Nam, Russia has issued bans on rice imports from other countries as well, including Thailand, Uruguay, India, Pakistan, China and Egypt.

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Source: TT – Translated by Trong Khuong

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