Three certificates awarded to the Vedan Vietnam company for product safety have been revoked and those involved in bestowing the certification will be punished, a press conference in Hanoi heard October 27.
The head of the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality (STAMEQ), Ngo Quy Viet, said the granting of “Safe Product for Community Health” certificates to three Vedan products had been a serious mistake by the award panel.
The panel comprised the Ho Chi Minh City Representative Office of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the city-based Natusi Patent Standard Quality Agent (NATUSI), a center for trademark and quality development consultancy.
The MOST and STAMEQ are waiting for an official report from the ministry’s HCM City office before making a firm decision on the case and punishing involved parties, said Tran Viet Thanh, secretariat chief of the MOST.
|Chief Representative of the MOST’s HCM City Office, Bui Van Quyen, speaks to the press in HCM City on October 27 (Photo: SGGP)|
One day earlier, Science and Technology Minister Hoang Van Phong ordered agencies concerned to revoke the three certificates granted to MSG and starch maker Vedan. Minister Phong also asked the ministry’s HCM City office to submit a detailed report on the certification process, including the responsibilities of involved parties, by October 28.
Vedan’s long-term discharge of untreated wastewater into Dong Nai Province’s Thi Vai River, has caused serious pollution problems and great suffering for people in affected areas, said the ministry.
Moreover, Vedan has yet to compensate the affected communities for their losses. Therefore, certifying Vedan’s products is unacceptable, the ministry said.
The Health Ministry yesterday suspended the deputy head of the Department for Food Safety and Hygiene, Hoang Thuy Tien, for his involvement in the certification process.
Mr. Tien was the deputy chairman of the “Safe Product for Community Health” Award Panel and signed certificates for businesses’ products, including Vedan’s.
Speaking with the media, Bui Van Quyen, chief representative of the MOST’s HCM City Office, said: “In the course of screening candidates, NATUSI put Vedan on its recommendation list for the title ‘Business with excellent quality management system’, but the award panel refused to accept Vedan since it has caused serious environmental problems.
“NATUSI later suggested putting three Vedan products, including its MSG, in the list of top 100 safe products for community health, but the panel rejected that too,” Mr. Quyen said.
“However, as the head of the award’s organizing board, I signed blank certificates prepared by NATUSI prior to the award ceremony. Later, NATUSI had filled three of those certificates with the names of Vedan products and sent them to the company,” he said.
Mr. Quyen also emphasized that at the award ceremony, the organizing board did not present the three certificates to Vedan.
He admitted his agency had made a mistake in awarding the certificates to Vedan, as it had failed to check the documents before they were delivered to recipients.
Mr. Quyen also said the main responsibility fell to NATUSI, as the agency had sent the certificates to Vedan without reporting it to the organizing board.
The ministry’s HCM City office then issued a decision to revoke the certificates, he said.
Ministry official explains Vedan title for community health