Vietnamese health authorities should tighten ads of nutrition supplement

Vietnam’s Food Administration under the Ministry of Health have joined hands with other agencies to control nutrition supplement adverts for many years but they cannot cover the whole nutrition supplement market because there are around 10,000 nutrition supplement kinds in the market and its companies thought of many ways to advertise them.

According to the Administration, in October alone, it has issued administrative fines to 40 violating companies with total amount of VND751 million (US$33,649).

Along with administrative fines, inspectors withdrew 19 certificates of food safety and hygiene. Most of companies violated advertisement regulation, wrong labeling and boasted the use of nutrition supplement.

For instance, last month, Tinh Tan Commercial Service Company in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Binh District was fined because it has imported and sold nutrition supplement Happygra containing Sildenafil substance to treat erectile dysfunction and label of the product violates the regulation.

Another company fined due to violating advertising regulation is Le Huyen Trang Company located in Long Bien district in Hanoi. The company was fined VND34 million (US$ 1,523) for advertising nutrition tablets Vita G2, Omega 3 whose quality is not like registered standard with authority.

Dr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, head of the Administration, since the beginning of the year, the administration has imposed administrative penalties to 216 companies which violated food safety and hygiene regulation.

Total fines are VND4 billion (US$179,847) for most of violation of advertising regulation and labeling.

To correct the rampant advertisement of nutrition supplement, last week the government office has issued an announcement of  Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam ordering sectors including health, information and communication, trade and science and technology to re-check regulation.

The document aims to tighten control over sales and manufacture of nutrition supplement for the sake of consumer. The document said that agencies must liaise to discover violations and impose harsh penalties on those companies who intentionally breach the regulation. Media will release penalties to the public.

By Tuong Lam – translated by Anh Quan

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