Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The entire political system is working to combat unhygienic food and food of unknown origins, with the active involvement of local authorities.

According to the Food Safety Law, the Ministry of Health (MoH) is responsible for managing food safety, while relevant ministries coordinate with the MoH in the task.

The MoH, along with the ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Industry and Trade are working together in managing the production, processing, preservation, transport, export, import and trading of foods.

Secretary of the HCM City’s Party Committee Dinh La Thang pointed out shortcomings in food safety management and emphasised the need to clearly define the responsibilities of organisations and individuals related to food safety management.

The work should be carried out nationwide and regional and local links should be promoted, Trinh Van Chien, Secretary of the Party Committee of north-central Thanh Hoa province said.

Recently, toxic chemicals have been found in many products, from fresh foods like shrimp, fish, fruit and vegetables to dried ones.

Many producers and traders have failed to meet hygiene standards for material inputs, breeding and planting processes, and even processing lines.
To improve food safety management, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam urged the need to outline the responsibilities of all relevant parties.

Meanwhile, all-level People’s Committees are responsible for inspections related to food safety in areas managed by them.

This year, food safety related-violations have increased rapidly. In the first three months of this year, more than 4,000 cases were brought to light, a quarter of which involved smuggled food.

About 160,000 cases of cancer are recorded in Vietnam each year, with environmental pollution and unhygienic food blamed for many cases, reported the MoH.

The revised Penal Code in 2015 includes some articles related to criminal responsibility for ensuring food safety. Production, trading, and transportation of chemicals, antibiotics, veterinary medicines, and plant protection products, which are banned for use in farming, breeding, and aquaculture, and in production of salt, food, food additive, animals feed, are considered criminal actions.

Chairman of Hanoi’s People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung proposed assigning the heads of People’s committees at district and communal/ward levels to be responsible for the duty.

It is necessary to clearly show the origin of food, and name of producers and suppliers, aiming to facilitate supervision, he said, adding that producers and transporters should meet food preservation and transportation regulations.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc noted that stronger efforts are needed to tackle the situation, and local governments should be key forces in the “uncompromising fight”.-VNA