Inside a fish sauce production facility in Phu Quoc (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– All fish sauces on the market are safe for human consumption, the Ministry of Health has confirmed after a 10-day inspection.

Examination of randomly selected 247 samples of traditional and industrial fish sauces in five provinces and cities – Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan – found inorganic arsenic at permitted levels, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Ministry of Health to quickly publish their official findings in order to avoid misleading and confusion regarding the quality of fish sauce on the market.

Public concerns were sparked after the Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association (Vinastas) issued the outcome of a survey on October 17, which said arsenic much beyond the permitted level have been found in most fish sauces on the market. But the information turned out to be misleading since the survey made no distinction between organic and inorganic arsenic content in fish sauce. The type of arsenic in traditional fish sauce mentioned in the survey was organic arsenic that is believed safe for humans.

The PM’s instruction followed demands by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) and several other associations, urging the Government to protect the traditional fish sauce producers against incorrect information.

Phuc also tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to examine whether Vinastas violated regulations on providing information to the public. If any violation is found, the violation should be severely punished, he said.

The Ministry of Information and Communications was told to strictly deal with any violation of regulations of publishing information by the media.

All the ministries were asked to send reports to the Prime Minister before November 10.-VNA