Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, deputy head of the Ministry of Health's Vietnam Food Administration (VFA), yesterday said that the health sector will coordinate with other agencies to conduct inspection in a bid to prevent food poisoning in approaching Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays and festive season.
Mr. Phong warned that inspectors will impose harsh penalties on food safety violators. Food safety watchdog will use media to grab local media attention over food safety and hygiene issues and provide useful information to protect consumers and genuine businesspersons.
The target of inspection is to reduce 10 percent of poisoning cases in Tet holidays and festivals in year-end. Inter-department inspection teams will be set up nationwide to expand inspection.
Inspection mission will start in January, 2015 and last to March. The Ministry of Health and related agencies will set up six teams to conduct food safety issues in 16 main cities and provinces including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, the central city of Da Nang and Thua Thien -Hue, the highlands provinces of Gia Lai, Kon Tum, the southern provinces of Kien Giang and Tay Ninh.
Inspectors will focus on food processing firms and manufacturers as well as wholesales markets, supermarkets to sell cattle and poultry products, confectioneries, beverage.
According to VFA, in 11 past months, of 514,735 manufacturers inspectors detected 152,750 violators of food safety regulations. Most of violators had unhygienic facilities and equipments.
Inspection teams also took more than 14,000 food samples for testing.
The test results showed that 13.6 percent of them failed to meet the food safety standards. Many of them seriously violated the law such as nutrition supplements containing medicines, food contaminated with Ecoli, Coliform bacteria and fungicides exceeding the allowable limits.