Local leaders to be held accountable on food safety violations

Deputy Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen proposed commune, district administration leaders must be held accountable if there are violations of food safety in their areas.

Inspectors check food safety in Ben thanh Market in District 1 (Photo: SGGP)

Inspectors check food safety in Ben thanh Market in District 1 (Photo: SGGP)

When food safety violations are discovered, all related agencies must work including the media, Mr. Tuyen said.
Leaders of a locality must be responsible if their areas have illegal slaughter houses. Management boards of companies must be under investigation and prosecution possibly if there are a poisoning killing people caused by  their products, stressed Mr. Tuyen.
During two years 2015 and 2016, the city People’s Council set up two inspection teams in 13 districts to inspect 30 companies, two educational facilities and three provinces which supply food for the city. Inspectors said that local governments are more responsible for managing food safety. 
In the two years, leaders of agencies tightened control on the issue. Inspection teams paid unscheduled visits to 98,235 companies; of which, 14,906 companies were detected to violate the regulation accounting for 15.2 percent. Inspectors issued fines to 11,051 facilities collecting over VND56 billion ($2,469,789); destroying over 556 tons of unsafe food as well as discovered banned chemicals used in making food. 
Increased taking samples of food from street eateries was carried out in the two past years aiming to increase street vendors’ and consumers’ awareness of food safety. Moreover, inspectors seized and destroyed unoriginal food. 
Deputy Chairman of the city’s People’s Council Pham Duc Hai said that through two years, the city has had safe food chains; tracing back the farms to provide pork and vegetables, forming chains from breeding to consumption; setting up traditional markets to meet food safety regulation and publicize the origin of food to consumers. 
Though the city authorities have intensified control over production, processing, preservation and distribution, it is uncontrollable in retail markets because some district administrations are neglected and severe shortage of personnel in food inspection teams. 

Ms. Nguyen Thi To Tam from the People’s Council proposed there should be more regulations on handling poisoning consequences. She concerned over high priced natural foods whose origin can not be traced back while others poultry markets in streets are still popular yet local administrations are neglected.
Therefore, Pham Duc Hai ordered related agencies must increase information of food safety to each people especially producers, businesspersons and customers. 

Traceable goods will be carried out in three wholesale markets; 240 traditional markets; 19,000 street eateries. Along with this, the city will speed up safety food chains and issuing certificates of safety to businesses, more testing and increased inspection.
Mr. Hai said that currently, small fines are not enough to deter people from committing violations. In the two years, around 11, 000 companies were fined.

By THANH SON - Translated by UYEN PHUONG

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